LEGENDS OF THE
THE EGYPTIAN TEXTS, EDITED
E. A. WALLIS
LEGENDS OF THE
THE EGYPTIAN TEXTS, EDITED
Wl TH TRANSLATI ONS
E. A. Wallis Budge
LONDON: KEGAN PAUL,
TRENCH AND TRUBNER & CO.
ORI Gl NALLY PUBLI SHED I N 1912
Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge.
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
I. THE LEGEND OF THE GOD NEB-ER-TCHER, AND THE HISTORY OF
I I . THE LEGEND OF THE DESTRUCTI ON OF MANKI ND
1 1 . THE LEGEND OF RA AND I SI S
IV. THE LEGEND OF HERU-BEHUTET AND THE WINGED DISK
V. LEGEND OF THE Bl RTH OF HORUS. SON OF I SI S AND OSI Rl S
VI . A LEGEND OF KHENSU NEFER-HETEP AND THE PRI NCESS OF
VI I ■ A LEGEND OF KHNEMU AND OF A SEVEN YEARS' FAMI NE
VIII. THE LEGEND OF THE DEATH AND RESURRECTI ON OF HORUS.
AND OTHER MAGICAL TEXTS
IX. THE HISTORY OF ISIS AND OSIRIS
LEGENDS OF EGYPTIAN GODS
THE HI STORY OF CREATI ON-A
THE HI STORY OF CREATI ON-B
THE LEGEND OF THE DESTRUCTI ON OF MANKI ND. CHAPTER I
THE LEGEND OF THE DESTRUCTI ON OF MANKI ND. CHAPTER 1 1
THE LEGEND OF THE DESTRUCTI ON OF MANKI ND. CHAPTER 1 1 1
THE LEGEND OF THE DESTRUCTI ON OF MANKI ND. CHAPTER I V
THE LEGEND OF THE DESTRUCTI ON OF MANKI ND. CHAPTER V
THE LEGEND OF RA AND I SI S
THE LEGEND OF HORUS OF BEHUTET AND THE Wl NGED PI SK
A HYMN TO OSI Rl S AND A LEGEND OF THE ORI Gl N OF HORUS
A LEGEND OF PTAH NEFER-HETEP AND THE PRI NCESS OF
A LEGEND OF THE GOD KHIMEMU AMD OF A SEVEN YEARS' FAMi ME
THE LEGEND OF THE DEATH OF HORUS THROUGH THE
STI NG OF A SCORPI ON AND OF HI S RESURRECTI ON
THROUGH THOTH. AND OTHER MAGI CAL TEXTS
-I NCANTATI ONS AGAI NST REPTI LES AND NOXI OUS CREATURES
9. THE CHAPTER OF CASTI NG A SPELL QN THE CAT
1 1 .-THE NARRATI VE OF I SI S
THE HI STORY OF I SI S AND OSI Rl S. Wl TH
EXPLANATIONS OF THE SAME. COLLECTED BY
PLUTARCH. AND SUPPLEMENTED BY HI S OWN VI EWS
1 Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
THE welcome which has been accorded to the volumes of this Series, and the fact that
some of them have passed into second and third editions, suggest that these little books
have been found useful by beginners in Egyptology and others. Hitherto the object of
them has been to supply information about the Religion, Magic, Language, and History
of the ancient Egyptians, and to provide editions of the original texts from which such
information was derived. There are, however, many branches of Egyptology which need
treatment in a similar manner in this Series, and it has been suggested in many quarters
that the time has now arrived when the publication of a series of groups of texts
illustrating EGYPTIAN LITERATURE in general might well be begun. Seeing that nothing
is known about the authors of Egyptian works, not even their names, it is impossible to
write a History of Egyptian Literature in the ordinary sense of the word. The only thing
to be done is to print the actual works in the best and most complete form possible, with
translations, and then to put them in the hands of the reader and leave them to his
With this object in view, it has been decided to publish in the Series several volumes
which shall be devoted to the reproduction in hieroglyphic type of the best and most
typical examples of the various kinds of EGYPTIAN LITERATURE, with English
translations, on a much larger scale than was possible in my "First Steps in Egyptian" or
in my "Egyptian Reading Book." These volumes are intended to serve a double purpose,
i.e., to supply the beginner in Egyptian with new material and a series of reading books,
and to provide the general reader with translations of Egyptian works in a handy form.
The Egyptian texts, whether the originals be written in hieroglyphic or hieratic
characters, are here printed in hieroglyphic type, and are arranged with English
translations, page for page. They are printed as they are written in the original
documents, i.e., the words are not divided. The beginner will find the practice of dividing
the words for himself most useful in acquiring facility of reading and understanding the
language. The translations are as literal as can reasonably be expected, and, as a whole, I
believe that they mean what the original writers intended to say. In the case of passages
where the text is corrupt, and readings are mixed, or where very rare words occur, or
where words are omitted, the renderings given claim to be nothing more than
suggestions as to their meanings. It must be remembered that the exact meanings of
many Egyptian words have still to be ascertained, and that the ancient Egyptian scribes
were as much puzzled as we are by some of the texts which they copied, and that owing
to carelessness, ignorance, or weariness, or all three, they made blunders which the
modern student is unable to correct. In the Introduction will be found brief descriptions
of the contents of the Egyptian texts, in which their general bearing and importance are
indicated, and references given to authoritative editions of texts and translations.
E.A. WALLIS BUDGE.
Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
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THE HISTORY OF CREATION. (Brit. Mus. Papyrus No 10,188)
4 Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
THE LEGEND OF THE GOD NEB-ER-TCHER, AND THE
HI STORY OF CREATI ON
THE text of the remarkable Legend of the Creation which forms the first section of this
volume is preserved in a well-written papyrus in the British Museum, where it bears the
number 10,188. This papyrus was acquired by the late Mr. A. H. Rhind in 1861 or 1862,
when he was excavating some tombs on the west bank of the Nile at Thebes. He did not
himself find it in a tomb, but he received it from the British Consul at Luxor, Mustafa
Agha, during an interchange of gifts when Mr. Rhind was leaving the country. Mustafa
Agha obtained the papyrus from the famous hiding-place of the Royal Mummies at Der-
al-Bahari, with the situation of which he was well acquainted for many years before it
became known to the Egyptian Service of Antiquities. When Mr. Rhind came to England,
the results of his excavations were examined by Dr. Birch, who, recognising the great
value of the papyrus, arranged to publish it in a companion volume to Facsimiles of Two
Papyri, but the death of Mr. Rhind in 1865 caused the project to fall through. Mr. Rhind's
collection passed into the hands of Mr. David Bremner, and the papyrus, together with
many other antiquities, was purchased by the Trustees of the British Museum. In 1880
Dr. Birch suggested the publication of the papyrus to Dr. Pleyte, the Director of the
Egyptian Museum at Leyden. This savant transcribed and translated some passages
from th eFestival Songs of Isis and Nephthys, which is the first text in it, and these he
published in Recueil de Travaux, Paris, tom. iii., pp. 57-64. In 1886 by Dr. Birch's
kindness I was allowed to work at the papyrus, and I published transcripts of some
important passages and the account of the Creation in the Proceedings of the Society of
Biblical Archaeology, 1886-7, pp. 11-26. The Legend of the Creation was considered by
Dr. H. Brugsch to be of considerable value for the study of the Egyptian Religion, and
encouraged by him 1 1 made a full transcript of the papyrus, which was published
in Archaeologia, (vol. Iii., London, 1891), with transliterations and translations. In 1910 I
edited for the Trustees of the British Museum the complete hieratic text with a revised
The papyrus is about 16 ft. 8 in. in length, and is 9% in. in width. It contains 21 columns
of hieratic text which are written in short lines and are poetical in character, and 12
1 Ein in moglichst wortgetreuer Uebersetzung vorglegter Papyrus-text soil den Schlussstein meines Werkes
bilden. Er wird den Beweis fur die Richtigkeit meiner eigenen Untersuchungen vollenden, indem er das
wichtigste Zeugniss altagyptischen Ursprungs den zahlreichen, von mir angezogenen Stellen aus den
Inschriften hinzufugt. Trotz mancher Schwierigkeit im Einzelnen ist der Gesammtinhalt des Textes, den zuerst
ein englischer Gelehrter der Wissenschaft zuganglich gemacht hat, such nicht im geringsten misszuverstehen
(Brugsch, Religion, p. 740). He gives a German translation of the Creation Legend on pp. 740, 741, and a
transliteration on p. 756.
2 Egyptian Hieratic Papyri in the British Museum, London, 1910, folio.
5 Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
columns or pages of text written in long lines; the total number of lines is between 930
and 940. The text is written in a small, very black, but neat hand, and may be assigned to
a time between the XXVIth Dynasty and the Ptolemaic Period. The titles, catch-words,
rubrics, names of Apep and his fiends, and a few other words, are written in red ink.
There are two colophons; in the one we have a date, namely, the "first day of the fourth
month of the twelfth year of Pharaoh Alexander, the son of Alexander," i.e., B.C. 3 1 1, and
in the other the name of the priest who either had the papyrus written, or appropriated
it, namely, Nes-Menu, or Nes-Amsu.
The Legend of the Creation is found in the third work which is given in the papyrus, and
which is called the "Book of overthrowing Apep, the Enemy of Ra, the Enemy of Un-
Nefer" (i.e., Osiris). This work contained a series of spells which were recited during the
performance of certain prescribed ceremonies, with the object of preventing storms,
and dispersing rain-clouds, and removing any obstacle, animate or inanimate, which
could prevent the rising of the sun in the morning, or obscure his light during the day.
The Leader-in Chief of the hosts of darkness was a fiend called Apep who appeared in
the sky in the form of a monster serpent, and, marshalling all the fiends of the Tuat,
attempted to keep the Sun-god imprisoned in the kingdom of darkness. Right in the
midst of the spells which were directed against Apep we find inserted the legend of the
Creation, which occurs in no other known Egyptian document (Col. XXVI., 1. 21, to Col.
XXVII., 1. 6). Curiously enough a longer version of the legend is given a little farther on
(Col. XXVIII., 1. 20, to Col. XXIX., 1. 6). Whether the scribe had two copies to work from,
and simply inserted both, or whether he copied the short version and added to it as he
went along, cannot be said. The legend is entitled: Book of knowing the evolutions of Ra
[and of] overthrowing Apep.
This curious "Book" describes the origin not only of heaven, and earth, and all therein,
but also of God Himself. In it the name of Apep is not even mentioned, and it is
impossible to explain its appearance in the Apep Ritual unless we assume that the
whole "Book" was regarded as a spell of the most potent character, the mere recital of
which was fraught with deadly effect for Apep and his friends.
The story of the Creation is supposed to be told by the god Neb-er-tcher, This name
means the "Lord to the uttermost limit," and the character of the god suggests that the
word "limit" refers to time and space, and that he was, in fact, the Everlasting God of the
Universe. This god's name occurs in Coptic texts, and then he appears as one who
possesses all the attributes which are associated by modern nations with God Almighty.
Where and how Neb-er-tcher existed is not said, but it seems as if he was believed to
have been an almighty and invisible power which filled all space. It seems also that a
desire arose in him to create the world, and in order to do this he took upon himself the
form of the god Khepera, who from first to last was regarded as the Creator, par
excellence, among all the gods known to the Egyptians. When this transformation of
Neb-er-tcher into Khepera took place the heavens and the earth had not been created,
but there seems to have existed a vast mass of water, or world-ocean, called Nu, and it
6 Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
must have been in this that the transformation took place. In this celestial ocean were
the germs of all the living things which afterwards took form in heaven and on earth,
but they existed in a state of inertness and helplessness. Out of this ocean Khepera
raised himself, and so passed from a state of passiveness and inertness into one of
activity. When Khepera raised himself out of the ocean Nu, he found himself in vast
empty space, wherein was nothing on which he could stand. The second version of the
legend says that Khepera gave being to himself by uttering his own name, and the first
version states that he made use of words in providing himself with a place on which to
stand. In other words, when Khepera was still a portion of the being of Neb-er-tcher, he
spake the word "Khepera," and Khepera came into being. Similarly, when he needed a
place whereon to stand, he uttered the name of the thing, or place, on which he wanted
to stand, and that thing, or place, came into being. This spell he seems to have addressed
to his heart, or as we should say, will, so that Khepera willed this standing-place to
appear, and it did so forthwith. The first version only mentions a heart, but the second
also speaks of a heart-soul as assisting Khepera in his first creative acts; and we may
assume that he thought out in his heart what manner of thing be wished to create, and
then by uttering its name caused his thought to take concrete form. This process of
thinking out the existence of things is expressed in Egyptian by words which mean
"laying the foundation in the heart."
In arranging his thoughts and their visible forms Khepera was assisted by the goddess
Maat, who is usually regarded as the goddess of law, order, and truth, and in late times
was held to be the female counterpart of Thoth, "the heart of the god Ra." In this legend,
however, she seems to play the part of Wisdom, as described in the Book of
Proverbs , 3 for it was by Maat that he "laid the foundation."
Having described the coming into being of Khepera and the place on which he stood, the
legend goes on to tell of the means by which the first Egyptian triad, or trinity, came into
existence. Khepera had, in some form, union with his own shadow, and so begot
offspring, who proceeded from his body under the forms of the gods Shu and Tefnut.
According to a tradition preserved in the Pyramid Texts 4 this event took place at On
(Heliopolis), and the old form of the legend ascribes the production of Shu and Tefnut to
an act of masturbation. Originally these gods were the personifications of air and
dryness, and liquids respectively; thus with their creation the materials for the
construction of the atmosphere and sky came into being. Shu and Tefnut were united,
and their offspring were Keb, the Earth-god, and Nut, the Sky-goddess. We have now
five gods in existence; Khepera, the creative principle, Shu, the atmosphere, Tefnut, the
3 The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old. I was set up from everlasting,
from the beginning, or ever the earth was. When there were no depths I was brought forth Before the
mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth: while as yet he had not made the earth, nor the
fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world. When he prepared the heavens I was there: when he set a
compass upon the face of the depth: when he established the clouds above: when he strengthened the
fountains of the deep: when he gave to the sea his decree, when he appointed the foundations of the
earth: then I was by him, as one brought up with him " Proverbs, viii. 22 ff.
4 Pepi I., I. 466.
7 Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
waters above the heavens, Nut, the Sky-goddess, and Keb, the Earth-god. Presumably
about this time the sun first rose out of the watery abyss of Nu, and shone upon the
world and produced day. In early times the sun, or his light, was regarded as a form of
Shu. The gods Keb and Nut were united in an embrace, and the effect of the coming of
light was to separate them. As long as the sun shone, i.e., as long as it was day, Nut, the
Sky-goddess, remained in her place above the earth, being supported by Shu; but as
soon as the sun set she left the sky and gradually descended until she rested on the body
of the Earth-god, Keb.
The embraces of Keb caused Nut to bring forth five gods at a birth, namely, Osiris,
Horus, Set, Isis, and Nephthys. Osiris and Isis married before their birth, and Isis
brought forth a son called Horus; Set and Nephthys also married before their birth, and
Nephthys brought forth a son named Anpu (Anubis), though he is not mentioned in the
legend. Of these gods Osiris is singled out for special mention in the legend, in which
Khepera, speaking as Neb-er-tcher, says that his name is AUSARES, who is the essence
of the primeval matter of which he himself is formed. Thus Osiris was of the same
substance as the Great God who created the world according to the Egyptians, and was a
reincarnation of his great-grandfather. This portion of the legend helps to explain the
views held about Osiris as the great ancestral spirit, who when on earth was a
benefactor of mankind, and who when in heaven was the saviour of souls.
The legend speaks of the sun as the Eye of Khepera, or Neb-er-tcher, and refers to some
calamity which befell it and extinguished its light. This calamity may have been simply
the coming of night, or eclipses, or storms; but in any case the god made a second Eye,
i.e., the Moon, to which he gave some of the splendour of the other Eye, i.e., the Sun, and
he gave it a place in his Face, and henceforth it ruled throughout the earth, and had
special powers in respect of the production of trees, plants, vegetables, herbs, etc. Thus
from the earliest times the moon was associated with the fertility of the earth, especially
in connection with the production of abundant crops and successful harvests.
According to the legend, men and women sprang not from the earth, but directly from
the body of the god Khepera, or Neb-er-tcher, who placed his members together and
then wept tears upon them, and men and women, came into being from the tears which
had fallen from his eyes. No special mention is made of the creation of beasts in the
legend, but the god says that he created creeping things of all kinds, and among these
are probably included the larger quadrupeds. The men and women, and all the other
living creatures which were made at that time, reproduced their species, each in his
own way, and so the earth became filled with their descendants which we see at the
Such is the Legend of Creation as it is found in the Papyrus of Nes-Menu. The text of
both versions is full of difficult passages, and some readings are corrupt; unfortunately
variant versions by which they might be corrected are lacking. The general meaning of
the legend in both versions is quite clear, and it throws considerable light on the
8 Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
Egyptian religion. The Egyptians believed in the existence of God, the Creator and
Maintainer of all things, but they thought that the concerns of this world were
committed by Him to the superintendence of a series of subordinate spirits or beings
called "gods," over whom they believed magical spells and ceremonies to have the
greatest influence. The Deity was a Being so remote, and of such an exalted nature, that
it was idle to expect Him to interfere in the affairs of mortals, or to change any decree or
command which He had once uttered. The spirits or "gods," on the other hand,
possessing natures not far removed from those of men, were thought to be amenable to
supplications and flattery, and to wheedling and cajolery, especially when accompanied
by gifts. It is of great interest to find a legend in which the power of God as the Creator
of the world and the sun and moon is so clearly set forth, embedded in a book of magical
spells devoted to the destruction of the mythological monster who existed solely to
prevent the sun from rising and shining.
Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
THE LEGEND OF THE DESTRUCTI ON OF MANKI ND
THE text containing the Legend of the Destruction of Mankind is written in hieroglyphs,
and is found on the four walls of a small chamber which is entered from the "hall of
columns" in the tomb of Seti I., which is situated on the west bank of the Nile at Thebes.
On the wall facing the door of this chamber is painted in red the figure of the large "Cow
of Heaven." The lower part of her belly is decorated with a series of thirteen stars, and
immediately beneath it are the two Boats of Ra, called Semketet and Mantchet, or Sektet
and Matet. Each of her four legs is held in position by two gods, and the god Shu, with
outstretched uplifted arms, supports her body. The Cow was published by
Champollion, 5 without the text. This most important mythological text was first
published and translated by Professor E. Naville in 1874. 6 It was republished by
Bergmann 7 and Brugsch, 8 who gave a transcription of the text, with a German
translation. Other German versions by Lauth, 9 Brugsch, 10 and Wiedemann 11 have
appeared, and a part of the text was translated into French by Lefebure. 12 The latest
edition of the text was published by Lefebure, 13 and text of a second copy, very much
mutilated, was published by Professor Naville, with a French translation in 1885. 14 The
text printed in this volume is that of M. Lefebure.
The legend takes us back to the time when the gods of Egypt went about in the country,
and mingled with men and were thoroughly acquainted with their desires and needs.
The king who reigned over Egypt was Ra, the Sun-god, who was not, however, the first
of the Dynasty of Gods who ruled the land. His predecessor on the throne was
Hephaistos, who, according to Manetho, reigned 9000 years, whilst Ra reigned only 992
years; Panodorus makes his reign to have lasted less than 100 years. Be this as it may, it
seems that the "self-created and self-begotten" god Ra had been ruling over mankind for
a very long time, for his subjects were murmuring against him, and they were
complaining that he was old, that his bones were like silver, his body like gold, and his
hair like lapis-lazuli. When Ra heard these murmurings he ordered his bodyguard to
summon all the gods who had been with him in the primeval World-ocean, and to bid
them privately to assemble in the Great House, which can be no other than the famous
temple of Heliopolis. This statement is interesting, for it proves that the legend is of
’ Monuments, tom. iii., p. 245.
’ Trans. Soc. Bibl. Arch., vol. iv., p. 1 ff.
Hieroglyphische Inschriften, Bl. 85 fl.
! Die neue Weltordnung nach Vernichtung des sundigen Menschengeschlechtes, Berlin, 1881.
’ Aus Aegyptens Vorzeit, p. 71.
0 Religion der alten Aegypter, p. 436.
1 Die Religion, p. 32.
12 A. Z, 1883, p. 32.
t3 Tombeau de Seti /., Part IV., plates 15-18.
14 Trans. Soc. Bibl. Arch., vol. viii., p. 412 ft.
1 0 Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
Heliopolitan origin, like the cult of Ra itself, and that it does not belong, at least in so far
as it applies to Ra, to the Predynastic Period.
When Ra entered the Great Temple, the gods made obeisance to him, and took up their
positions on each side of him, and informed him that they awaited his words.
Addressing Nu, the personification of the World-ocean, Ra bade them to take notice of
the fact that the men and women whom his Eye had created were murmuring against
him. He then asked them to consider the matter and to devise a plan of action for him,
for he was unwilling to slay the rebels without hearing what his gods had to say. In reply
the gods advised Ra to send forth his Eye to destroy the blasphemers, for there was no
eye on earth that could resist it, especially when it took the form of the goddess Hathor.
Ra accepted their advice and sent forth his Eye in the form of Hathor to destroy them,
and, though the rebels had fled to the mountains in fear, the Eye pursued them and
overtook them and destroyed them. Hathor rejoiced in her work of destruction, and on
her return was praised by Ra, for what she had done. The slaughter of men began at
Suten-henen (Herakleopolis), and during the night Hathor waded about in the blood of
men. Ra asserted his intention of being master of the rebels, and this is probably
referred to in the Book of the Dead, Chapter XVII., in which it is said that Ra rose as king
for the first time in Suten-henen. Osiris also was crowned at Suten-henen, and in this
city lived the great Bennu bird, or Phoenix, and the "Crusher of Bones" mentioned in the
The legend now goes on to describe an act of Ra, the significance of which it is difficult
to explain. The god ordered messengers to be brought to him, and when they arrived, he
commanded them to run like the wind to Abu, or the city of Elephantine, and to bring
him large quantities of the fruit called tataat. What kind of fruit this was is not clear, but
Brugsch thought they were "mandrakes," the so-called "love-apples," and this
translation of tataat may be used provisionally. The mandrakes were given to Sekti, a
goddess of Heliopolis, to crush and grind up, and when this was done they were mixed
with human blood, and put in a large brewing of beer which the women slaves had
made from wheat. In all they made 7,000 vessels of beer. When Ra saw the beer he
approved of it, and ordered it to be carried up the river to where the goddess Hathor
was still, it seems, engaged in slaughtering men. During the night he caused this beer to
be poured out into the meadows of the Four Heavens, and when Hathor came she saw
the beer with human blood and mandrakes in it, and drank of it and became drunk, and
paid no further attention to men and women. In welcoming the goddess, Ra, called her
"Amit," i.e., "beautiful one," and from this time onward "beautiful women were found in
the city of Amit," which was situated in the Western Delta, near Lake Mareotis. 15 Ra also
ordered that in future at every one of his festivals vessels of "sleep-producing beer"
should be made, and that their number should be the same as the number of the
handmaidens of Ra. Those who took part in these festivals of Hathor and Ra drank beer
15 It was also called the "City of Apis," (Brugsch, Diet. Geog., p. 491), and is the Apis city of classical writers. It is,
perhaps, represented by the modern Kom al-Hisn.
1 1 Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
in very large quantities, and under the influence of the "beautiful women," i.e., the
priestesses, who were supposed to resemble Hathor in their physical attractions, the
festal celebrations degenerated into drunken and licentious orgies.
Soon after this Ra complained that he was smitten with pain, and that he was weary of
the, children of men. He thought them a worthless remnant, and wished that more of
them had been slain. The gods about him begged him to endure, and reminded him that
his power was in proportion to his will. Ra was, however, unconsoled, and he
complained that his limbs were weak for the first time in his life. Thereupon the god Nu
told Shu to help Ra, and he ordered Nut to take the great god Ra on her back. Nut
changed herself into a cow, and with the help of Shu. Ra got on her back. As soon as men
saw that Ra was on the back of the Cow of Heaven, and was about to leave them, they
became filled with fear and repentance, and cried out to Ra to remain with them and to
slay all those who had blasphemed against him. But the Cow moved on her way, and
carried Ra to Het-Ahet, a town of the nome of Mareotis, where in later days the right leg
of Osiris was said to be preserved. Meanwhile darkness covered the land. When day
broke the men who had repented of their blasphemies appeared with their bows, and
slew the enemies of Ra. At this result Ra was pleased, and he forgave those who had
repented because of their righteous slaughter of his enemies. From this time onwards
human sacrifices were offered up at the festivals of Ra celebrated in this place, and at
Heliopolis and in other parts of Egypt.
After these things Ra declared to Nut that he intended to leave this world, and to ascend
into heaven, and that all those who would see his face must follow him thither. Then he
went up into heaven and prepared a place to which all might come. Then he said, "Hetep
sekhet aa," i.e., "Let a great field be produced," and straightway "Sekhet-hetep," or the
"Field of peace," came into being. He next said, "Let there be reeds (aaru) in it," and
straightway "Sekhet Aaru," or the "Field of Reeds," came into being. Sekhet-hetep was
the Elysian Fields of the Egyptians, and the Field of Reeds was a well-known section of
it. Another command of the god Ra resulted in the creation of the stars, which the
legend compares to flowers. Then the goddess Nut trembled in all her body, and Ra,
fearing that she might fall, caused to come into being the Four Pillars on which the
heavens are supported. Turning to Shu, Ra entreated him to protect these supports, and
to place himself under Nut, and to hold her up in position with his hands. Thus Shu
became the new Sun-god in the place of Ra, and the heavens in which Ra lived were
supported and placed beyond the risk of falling, and mankind would live and rejoice in
the light of the new sun.
At this place in the legend a text is inserted called the "Chapter of the Cow." It describes
how the Cow of Heaven and the two Boats of the Sun shall be painted, and gives the
positions of the gods who stand by the legs of the Cow, and a number of short magical
names, or formulae, which are inexplicable. The general meaning of the picture of the
Cow is quite clear. The Cow represents the sky in which the Boats of Ra, sail, and her
four legs are the four cardinal points which cannot be changed. The region above her
1 2 Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
back is the heaven in which Ra reigns over the beings who pass thereto from this earth
when they die, and here was situated the home of the gods and the celestial spirits who
govern this world.
When Ra had made a heaven for himself, and had arranged for a continuance of life on
the earth, and the welfare of human beings, he remembered that at one time when
reigning on earth he had been bitten by a serpent, and had nearly lost his life through
the bite. Fearing that the same calamity might befall his successor, he determined to
take steps to destroy the power of all noxious reptiles that dwelt on the earth. With this
object in view he told Thoth to summon Keb, the Earth-god, to his presence, and this
god having arrived, Ra told him that war must be made against the serpents that dwelt
in his dominions. He further commanded him to go to the god Nu, and to tell him to set a
watch over all the reptiles that were in the earth and in water, and to draw up a writing
for every place in which serpents are known to be, containing strict orders that they are
to bite, no one. Though these serpents knew that Ra was retiring from the earth, they
were never to forget that his rays would fall upon them. In his place their father Keb
was to keep watch over them, and he was their father for ever.
As a further protection against them Ra promised to impart to magicians and snake-
charmers the particular word of power, hekau, with which he guarded himself against
the attacks of serpents, and also to transmit it to his son Osiris. Thus those who are
ready to listen to the formulae of the snake-charmers shall always be immune from the
bites of serpents, and their children also. From this we may gather that the profession of
the snake-charmer is very ancient, and that this class of magicians were supposed to
owe the foundation of their craft to a decree of Ra himself.
Ra next sent for the god Thoth, and when he came into the presence of Ra, he invited
him to go with him to a distance, to a place called "Tuat," i.e., hell, or the Other World, in
which region he had determined to make his light to shine. When they arrived there he
told Thoth, the Scribe of Truth, to write down on his tablets the names of all who were
therein, and to punish those among them who had sinned against him, and he deputed
to Thoth the power to deal absolutely as he pleased with all the beings in the Tuat. Ra
loathed the wicked, and wished them to be kept at a distance from him. Thoth was to be
his vicar, to fill his place, and "Place of Ra," was to be his name. He gave him power to
send out a messenger ( hab ), so the Ibis ( habi ) came into being. All that Thoth would do
would be good ( khen ), therefore the Tekni bird of Thoth came into being. He gave Thoth
power to embrace ( anh ) the heavens, therefore the Moon-god ( Aah ) came into being. He
gave Thoth power to turn back ( anan ) the Northern peoples, therefore the dog-headed
ape of Thoth came into being: Finally Ra told Thoth that he would take his place in the
sight of all those who were wont to worship Ra, and that all should praise him as God.
Thus the abdication of Ra was complete.
In the fragmentary texts which follow we are told how a man may benefit by the recital
of this legend. He must proclaim that the soul which animated Ra was the soul of the
Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
Aged One, and that of Shu, Khnemu (?), Heh, &c., and then he must proclaim that he is Ra
himself, and his word of power Heka. If he recites the Chapter correctly he shall have life
in the Other World, and he will be held in greater fear there than here. A rubric adds
that he must be dressed in new linen garments, and be well washed with Nile water; he
must wear white sandals, and his body must be anointed with holy oil. He must burn
incense in a censer, and a figure of Maat (Truth) must be painted on his tongue with
green paint. These regulations applied to the laity as well as to the clergy.
14 Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
THE LEGEND OF RA AND I SI S
THE original text of this very interesting legend is written in the hieratic character on a
papyrus preserved at Turin, and was published by Pleyte and Rossi in their Corpus of
Turin Papyri. 16 French and German translations of it were published by
Lefebure, 17 and Wiedemann 18 respectively, and summaries of its contents were given
by Erman 19 and Maspero. 20 A transcript of the hieratic text into hieroglyphics, with
transliteration and translation, was published by me in 1895. 21
It has already been seen that the god Ra, when retiring from the government of this
world, took steps through Thoth to supply mankind with words of power and spells
with which to protect themselves against the bites of serpents and other noxious
reptiles. The legend of the Destruction of Mankind affords no explanation of this
remarkable fact, but when we read the following legend of Ra and Isis we understand
why Ra, though king of the gods, was afraid of the reptiles which lived in the kingdom of
Keb. The legend, or "Chapter of the Divine God," begins by enumerating the mighty
attributes of Ra as the creator of the universe, and describes the god of "many names" as
unknowable, even by the gods. At this time Isis lived in the form of a woman who
possessed the knowledge of spells and incantations, that is to say, she was regarded
much in the same way as modern African peoples regard their "medicine-women," or
"witch-women." She had used her spells on men, and was tired of exercising her powers
on them, and she craved the opportunity of making herself mistress of gods and spirits
as well as of men. She meditated how she could make herself mistress both of heaven
and earth, and finally she decided that she could only obtain the power she wanted if
she possessed the knowledge of the secret name of Ra, in which his very existence was
bound up. Ra guarded this name most jealously, for he knew that if he revealed it to any
being he would henceforth be at that being's mercy. Isis saw that it was impossible to
make Ra declare his name to her by ordinary methods, and she therefore thought out
the following plan. It was well known in Egypt and the Sudan at a very early period that
if a magician obtained some portion of a person's body, e.g., a hair, a paring of a nail, a
fragment of skin, or a portion of some efflux from the body, spells could be used upon
them which would have the effect of causing grievous harm to that person. Isis noted
that Ra had become old and feeble, and that as he went about he dribbled at the mouth,
and that his saliva fell upon the ground. Watching her opportunity she caught some of
the saliva of the and mixing it with dust, she moulded it into the form of a large serpent,
with poison-fangs, and having uttered her spells over it, she left the serpent lying on the
16 Papyrus de Turin, pll. 31, 77, 131-138.
17 A. Z, 1883, p. 27 ff.
18 Die Religion, p. 29.
19 Aegypten, p. 359 ff.
20 Les Origines, V. 162-4.
21 First Steps in Egyptian, p. 241 ff.
1 5 Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
path, by which Ra travelled day by day as he went about inspecting Egypt, so that it
might strike at him as he passed along. We may note in passing that the Banyoro in the
Sudan employ serpents in killing buffaloes at the present day. They catch a puff-adder in
a noose, and then nail it alive by the tip of its tail to the round in the middle of a buffalo
track, so that when an animal passes the reptile may strike at it. Presently a buffalo
comes along, does what it is expected to do, and then the puff-adder strikes at it, injects
its poison, and the animal dies soon after. As many as ten buffaloes have been killed in a
day by one puff-adder. The body of the first buffalo is not eaten, for it is regarded as
poisoned meat, but all the others are used as food. 22
Soon after Isis had placed the serpent on the Path, Ra passed by, and the reptile bit him,
thus injecting poison into his body. Its effect was terrible, and Ra cried out in agony. His
jaws chattered, his lips trembled, and he became speechless for a time; never before had
be suffered such pain. The gods hearing his cry rushed to him, and when he could speak
he told them that he had been bitten by a deadly serpent. In spite of all the words of
power which were known to him, and his secret name which had been hidden in his
body at his birth, a serpent had bitten him, and he was being consumed with a fiery
pain. He then commanded that all the gods who had any knowledge of magical spells
should come to him, and when they came, Isis, the great lady of spells, the destroyer of
diseases, and the revivifier of the dead, came with them. Turning to Ra she said, "What
hath happened, 0 divine Father?" and in answer the god told her that a serpent had
bitten him, that he was hotter than fire and colder than water, that his limbs quaked,
and that he was losing the power of sight. Then Isis said to him with guile, "Divine
Father, tell me thy name, for he who uttereth his own name shall live." Thereupon Ra
proceeded to enumerate the various things that he had done, and to describe his
creative acts, and ended his speech to Isis by saying, that he was Khepera in the
morning, Ra at noon, and Temu in the evening. Apparently he thought that the naming
of these three great names would satisfy Isis, and that she would immediately
pronounce a word of power and stop the pain in his body, which, during his speech, had
become more acute. Isis, however, was not deceived, and she knew well that Ra had not
declared to her his hidden name; this she told him, and she begged him once again to
tell her his name. For a time the god refused to utter the name, but as the pain in his
body became more violent, and the poison passed through his veins like fire, he said,
"Isis shall search in me, and my name shall pass from my body into hers." At that
moment Ra removed himself from the sight of the gods in his Boat, and the Throne in
the Boat of Millions of Years had no occupant. The great name of Ra was, it seems,
hidden in his heart, and. Isis, having some doubt as to whether Ra would keep his word
or not, agreed with Horus that Ra must be made to take an oath to part with his two
Eyes, that is, the Sun and the Moon. At length Ra allowed his heart to be taken from his
body, and his great and secret name, whereby he lived, passed into the possession of
Isis. Ra thus became to all intents and purposes a dead god. Then Isis, strong in the
22 Johnston, Uganda, vol. ii., p. 584. The authority for this statement is Mr. George Wilson, formerly Collector
1 6 Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
power of her spells, said: "Flow, poison, come out of Ra. Eye of Horus, come out of Ra,
and shine outside his mouth. It is I, Isis, who work, and I have made the poison to fall on
the ground. Verily the name of the great god is taken from him, Ra shall live and the
poison shall die; if the poison live Ra shall die."
This was the infallible spell which was to be used in cases of poisoning, for it rendered
the bite or sting of every venomous reptile harmless. It drove the poison out of Ra, and
since it was composed by Isis after she obtained the knowledge of his secret name it
was irresistible. If the words were written on papyrus or linen over a figure of Temu or
Heru-hekenu, or Isis, or Horus, they became a mighty charm. If the papyrus or linen
were steeped in water and the water drunk, the words were equally efficacious as a
charm against snake-bites. To this day water in which the written words of a text from
the Kur'an have been dissolved, or water drunk from a bowl on the inside of which
religious texts have been written, is still regarded as a never-failing charm in Egypt and
the Sudan. Thus we see that the modern custom of drinking magical water was derived
from the ancient Egyptians, who believed that it conveyed into their bodies the actual
power of their gods.
Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
THE LEGEND OF HERU-BEHUTET AND THE Wl NGED Dl SK
THE text of this legend is cut in hieroglyphics on the walls of the temple of Edfu in
Upper Egypt, and certain portions of it are illustrated by large bas-reliefs. Both text and
reliefs were published by Professor Naville in his volume entitled Mythe d'Horus, fob,
plates 12-19, Geneva, 1870. A German translation by Brugsch appeared in
the Ahandlungen der Gottinger Akademie, Band xiv., pp. 173-236, and another by
Wiedemann in his Die Religion, p. 38 ff. (see the English translation p. 69 ff.). The legend,
in the form in which it is here given, dates from the Ptolemaic Period, but the matter
which it contains is far older, and it is probable that the facts recorded in it are
fragments of actual history, which the Egyptians of the late period tried to piece
together in chronological order. We shall see as we read that the writer of the legend as
we have it was not well acquainted with Egyptian history, and that in his account of the
conquest of Egypt he has confounded one god with another, and mixed up historical
facts with mythological legends to such a degree that his meaning is frequently
uncertain. The great fact which he wished to describe is the conquest of Egypt by an
early king, who, having subdued the peoples in the South, advanced northwards, and
made all the people whom he conquered submit to his yoke. Now the King of Egypt was
always called Horus, and the priests of Edfu wishing to magnify their local god, Horus of
Behutet, or Horus of Edfu, attributed to him the conquests of this human, and probably
predynastic, king. We must remember that the legend assumes that Ra, was still
reigning on earth, though he was old and feeble, and had probably deputed his power to
his successor, whom the legend regards as his son.
Horus holding the Hippopotamus-fiend with chain and spear. Behind stand Isis and Heru
Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
Horus driving his spear into the Hippopotamus-fiend; behind him stands one of his
/ j / i
s / S f J Vs' .
Horus driving his spear into the belly of the Hippopotamus-fiend as he lies on his back;
behind stands on of his "Blacksmiths".
Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
/ft In! film
V W \ \ u\\ i N TTi
N \V-A\vvfj ra 3 V\
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Horus and Isis capturing the Hippopotamus-fiend.
In the 363rd year of his reign Ra-Harmakhis 23 was in Nubia with his army with the
intention of destroying those who had conspired against him; because of their
conspiracy ( auu ) Nubia is called "Uaua" to this day. From Nubia Ra-Harmakhis sailed
down the river to Edfu, where Heru-Behutet entered his boat, and told him that his foes
were conspiring against him. Ra-Harmakhis in answer addressed Heru-Behutet as his
son, and commanded him to set out without delay and slay the wicked rebels. Then
Heru-Behutet took the form of a great winged Disk, and at once flew up into the sky,
where he took the place of Ra, the old Sun-god. Looking down from the height of heaven
he was able to discover the whereabouts of the rebels, and he pursued them in the form
of a winged disk. Then he attacked them with such violence that they became dazed, and
could neither see where they were going, nor hear, the result of this being that they slew
each other, and in a very short time they were all dead. Thoth, seeing this, told Ra that
because Horus had appeared as a great winged disk he must be called "Heru-Behutet,"
and by this name Horus was known ever after at Edfu. Ra embraced Horus, and referred
with pleasure to the blood which he had shed, and Horus invited his father to come and
look upon the slain. Ra set out with the goddess Ashthertet (Ashtoreth) to do this, and
they saw the enemies lying fettered on the ground. The legend here introduces a
number of curious derivations of the names of Edfu, &c., which are valueless, and which
remind us of the derivations of place-names propounded by ancient Semitic scribes.
I.e., Ra on the horizon.
21 Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
As the boat of the god approached them they opened their jaws to crush it, but Horus
and his followers came quickly on the scene, and defeated their purpose. The followers
of Horus here mentioned are called in the text "Mesniu," i.e., "blacksmiths," or "workers
in metal," and they represent the primitive conquerors of the Egyptians, who were
armed with metal weapons, and so were able to overcome with tolerable ease the
indigenous Egyptians, whose weapons were made of flint and wood. Horus and his
"blacksmiths" were provided with iron lances and chains, and, baying cast the chains
over the monsters in the river, they drove their lances into their snouts, and slew 651 of
them. Because Horus gained his victory by means of metal weapons, Ra decreed that a
metal statue of Horus should be placed at Edfu, and remain there for ever, and a name
was given to the town to commemorate the great battle that had taken place there. Ra
applauded Horus for the mighty deeds which be had been able to perform by means of
the spells contained in the "Book of Slaying the Hippopotamus." Horus then associated
with himself the goddesses Uatchet and Nekhebet, who were in the form of serpents,
and, taking his place as the winged Disk on the front of the Boat of Ra, destroyed all the
enemies of Ra wheresoever he found them. When the remnant of the enemies of Ra, saw
that they were likely to be slain, they doubled back to the South, but Horus pursued
them, and drove them down the river before him as far as Thebes. One battle took place
at Tchetmet, and another at Denderah, and Horus was always victorious; the enemies
were caught by chains thrown over them, and the deadly spears of the Blacksmiths
drank their blood.
After this the enemy fled to the North, and took refuge in the swamps of the Delta, and
in the shallows of the Mediterranean Sea, and Horus pursued them thither. After
searching for them for four days and four nights he found them, and they were speedily
slain. One hundred and forty-two of them, and a male hippopotamus were dragged on to
the Boat of Ra, and there Horus dug out their entrails, and hacked their carcases in
pieces, which he gave to his Blacksmiths and the gods who formed the crew of the Boat
of Ra. Before despatching the hippopotamus, Horus leaped on to the back of the
monster as a mark of his triumph, and to commemorate this event the priest of Heben,
the town wherein these things happened, was called "He who standeth on the back ever
The end of the great fight, however, was not yet. Another army of enemies appeared by
the North Lake, and they were marching towards the sea; but terror of Horus smote
their hearts, and they fled and took refuge in Mertet-Ament, where they allied
themselves with the followers of Set, the Arch-fiend and great Enemy of Ra. Thither
Horus and his well-armed Blacksmiths pursued them, and came up with them at the
town called Per-Rerehu, which derived its name from the "Two Combatants," or "Two
Men," Horus and Set. A great fight took place, the enemies of Ra were defeated with
great slaughter, and Horus dragged 381 prisoners on to the Boat of Ra, where he slew
them, and gave their bodies to his followers.
Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
Ashthertet ('Ashtoreth') driving her chariot over the prostrate foe.
/} ;fi : fry/
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I \ xi}[ I / »
Left-. Horus of Behutet spearing a Typhonic animal, and holding his prisoners with rope.
Right-. Horus of Behutet, accompanied by Ra-Harmakhis and Menu, spearing the
24 Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
Then Set rose up and cursed Horus because he had slain his allies, and he used such foul
language that Thoth called him "Nehaha-her," i.e., "Stinking Face," and this name clung
to him ever after. After this Horus and Set engaged in a fight which lasted a very long
time, but at length Horus drove his spear into the neck of Set with such violence that the
Fiend fell headlong to the ground. Then Horus smote with his club the mouth which had
uttered such blasphemies, and fettered him with his chain. In this state Horus dragged
Set into the presence of Ra, who ascribed great praise to Horus, and special names were
given to the palace of Horus and the high priest of the temple in commemoration of the
event. When the question of the disposal of Set was being discussed by the gods, Ra
ordered that he and his fiends should be given over to Isis and her son Horus, who were
to do what they pleased with them. Horus promptly cut off the heads of Set and his
fiends in the presence of Ra and Isis, and be dragged Set by his feet through the country
with his spear sticking in his head and neck. After this Isis appointed Horus of Behutet
to be the protecting deity of her son Horus.
The fight between the Sun-god and Set was a very favourite subject with Egyptian
writers, and there are many forms of it. Thus there is the fight between Heru-ur and Set,
the fight between Ra and Set, the fight between Heru-Behutet and Set, the fight between
Osiris and Set, and the fight between Horus, son of Isis, and Set. In the oldest times the
combat was merely the natural opposition of light to darkness, but later the Sun-god
became the symbol of right and truth as well as of light, and Set the symbol of sin and
wickedness as well as of darkness, and ultimately the nature myth was forgotten, and
the fight between the two gods became the type of the everlasting war which good men
wage against sin. In Coptic literature we have the well-known legend of the slaughter of
the dragon by St. George, and this is nothing but a Christian adaptation of the legend of
Horus and Set.
After these things Horus, son of Ra, and Horus, son of Isis, each took the form of a
mighty man, with the face and body of a hawk, and each wore the Red and White
Crowns, and each carried a spear and chain. In these forms the two gods slew the
remnant of the enemies. Now by some means or other Set came to life again, and he
took the form of a mighty hissing or "roaring" serpent, and hid himself in the ground, in
a place which was ever after called the "place of the roarer." In front of his hiding-place
Horus, son of Isis, stationed himself in the form of a hawk-headed staff to prevent him
from coming out. In spite of this, however, Set managed to escape, and he gathered
about him the Smai and Seba fiends at the Lake of Meh, and waged war once more
against Horus; the enemies of Ra were again defeated, and Horus slew them in the
presence of his father.
26 Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
Horus, it seems, now ceased to fight for some time, and devoted himself to keeping
guard over the "Great God" who was in An-rut-f, a district in or near Herakleopolis. This
Great God was no other than Osiris, and the duty of Horus was to prevent the Smai
fiends from coming by night to the place. In spite of the power of Horus, it was found
necessary to summon the aid of Isis to keep away the fiends, and it was only by her
words of power that the fiend Ba was kept out of the sanctuary. As a reward for what he
had already done, Thoth decreed that Horus should be called the "Master-Fighter."
Passing over the derivations of place-names which occur here in the text, we find that
Horus and his Blacksmiths were again obliged to fight bodies of the enemy who had
managed to escape, and that on one occasion they killed one hundred and six foes. In
every fight the Blacksmiths performed mighty deeds of valour, and in reward for their
services a special district was allotted to them to dwell in.
The last great fight in the North took place at Tanis, in the eastern part of the Delta.
When the position of the enemy had been located, Horus took the form of a lion with the
face of a man, and he put on his head the Triple Crown. His claws were like flints, and
with them he dragged away one hundred and forty-two of the enemy, and tore them in
pieces, and dug out their tongues, which he carried off as symbols of his victory.
Meanwhile rebellion had again broken out in Nubia, where about one-third of the
enemy had taken refuge in the river in the forms of crocodiles and hippopotami. Ra
counselled Horus to sail up the Nile with his Blacksmiths, and when Thoth had recited
the "Chapters of protecting the Boat of Ra" over the boats, the expedition set sail for the
South. The object of reciting these spells was to prevent the monsters which were in the
river from making the waves to rise and from stirring up storms which might engulf the
boats of Ra and Horus and the Blacksmiths. When the rebels and fiends who had been
uttering, treason against Horus saw the boat of Ra, with the winged Disk of Horus
accompanied by the goddesses Uatchet and Nekhebet in the form of serpents, they were
smitten with fear, and their hearts quaked, and all power of resistance left them, and
they died of fright straightway. When Horus returned in triumph to Edfu, Ra ordered
that an image of the winged Disk should be placed in each of his sanctuaries, and that in
every place wherein a winged Disk was set, that sanctuary should be a sanctuary of
Horus of Behutet. The winged disks which are seen above the doorways of the temples
still standing in Egypt show that the command of Ra, was faithfully carried out by the
27 Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
Horus of Behutet in the form of a lion slaying his foes
Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
LEGEND OF THE Bl RTH OF HORUS, SON OF I SI S AND
OSI Rl S
iS L O af?
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The Procreation of Horus, son of Isis.
THE text which contains this legend is found cut in hieroglyphics upon a stele which is
now preserved in Paris. Attention was first called to it by Chabas, who in 1857 gave a
translation of it in the Revue Archeologique, p. 65 ff., and pointed out the importance of
its contents with his characteristic ability. The hieroglyphic text was first published by
Ledrain in his work on the monuments of the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris, 24 and I
gave a transcript of the text, with transliteration and translation, in 1895. 25
The greater part of the text consists of a hymn to Osiris, which was probably composed
under the XVIIIth Dynasty, when an extraordinary development of the cult of that god
took place, and when he was placed by Egyptian theologians at the head of all the gods.
Though unseen in the temples, his presence filled all Egypt, and his body formed the
very substance of the country. He was the God of all gods and the Governor of the Two
Companies of the gods, he formed the soul and body of Ra, he was the beneficent Spirit
of all spirits, he was himself the celestial food on which the Doubles in the Other World
lived. He was the greatest of the gods in On (Heliopolis), Memphis, Herakleopolis,
Hermopolis, Abydos, and the region of the First Cataract, and so. He embodied in his
own person the might of Ra-Tem, Apis and Ptah, the Horus-gods, Thoth and Khnemu,
and his rule over Busiris and Abydos continued to be supreme, as it had been for many,
many hundreds of years. He was the source of the Nile, the north wind sprang from him,
his seats were the stars of heaven which never set, and the imperishable stars were his
ministers. All heaven was his dominion, and the doors of the sky opened before him of
24 Les Monuments Egyptiens ( Cabinet des Medailles et Antiques), In the Bibliotheque de I'Ecole des Hautes
Etudes, Paris, 1879-1882, plate xxii. ff.
25 First Steps in Egyptian, pp. 179-188.
Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
their own accord when he appeared. He inherited the earth from his father Keb, and the
sovereignty of heaven from his mother Nut. In his person he united endless time in the
past and endless time in the future. Like Ra he had fought Seba, or Set, the monster of
evil, and had defeated him, and his victory assured to him lasting authority over the
gods and the dead. He exercised his creative power in making land and water, trees and
herbs, cattle and other four-footed beasts, birds of all kinds, and fish and creeping
things; even the waste spaces of the desert owed allegiance to him as the creator. And
he rolled out the sky, and set the light above the darkness.
The last paragraph of the text contains an allusion to Isis, the sister and wife of Osiris,
and mentions the legend of the birth of Horus, which even under the XVIIIth Dynasty
was very ancient, Isis, we are told, was the constant protectress of her brother, she
drove away the fiends that wanted to attack him, and kept them out of his shrine and
tomb, and she guarded him from all accidents. All these things she did by means of
spells and incantations, large numbers of which were known to her, and by her power
as the "witch-goddess." Her "mouth was trained to perfection, and she made no mistake
in pronouncing her spells, and her tongue was skilled and halted not." At length came
the unlucky day when Set succeeded in killing Osiris during the war which the "good
god" was waging against him and his fiends. Details of the engagement are wanting, but
the Pyramid Texts state that the body of Osiris was hurled to the ground by Set at a
place called Netat, which seems to have been near Abydos. 26 The news of the death of
Osiris was brought to Isis, and she at once set out to find his body. All legends agree in
saying that she took the form of a bird, and that she flew about unceasingly, going hither
and thither, and uttering wailing cries of grief. At length she found the body, and with a
piercing cry she alighted on the ground. The Pyramid Texts say that Nephthys was with
her that "Isis came, Nephthys came, the one on the right side, the other on the left side,
one in the form of a Hat bird, the other in the form of a Tchert bird, and they found
Osiris thrown on the ground in Netat by his brother Set." The late form of the legend
goes on to say that Isis fanned the body with her feathers, and produced air, and that at
length she caused the inert members of Osiris to move, and drew from him his essence,
wherefrom she produced her child Horus.
This bare statement of the dogma of the conception of Horus does not represent all that
is known about it, and it may well be supplemented by a passage from the Pyramid
Texts, 27 which reads, "Adoration to thee, 0 Osiris. 28 Rise thou up on thy left side, place
thyself on thy right side. This water which I give unto thee is the water of youth (or
rejuvenation). Adoration to thee, 0 Osiris! Rise thou up on thy left side, place thyself on
thy right side. This bread which I have made for thee is warmth. Adoration to thee, 0
Osiris! The doors of heaven are opened to thee, the doors of the streams are thrown
wide open to thee. The gods in the city of Pe come [to thee], Osiris, at the sound (or
26 Pepi I., line 475; Pepi II., line 1263.
27 Mer-en-Ra, line 336; Pepi II., line 862.
28 1 omit the king's names.
Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
voice) of the supplication of Isis and Nephthys Thy elder sister took thy body in
her arms, she chafed thy hands, she clasped thee to her breast [when] she found thee
[lying] on thy side on the plain of Netat."
The Stele recording the casting out of a devil from the Princess of Bekhten
31 Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
And in another place we read: 29 "Thy two sisters, Isis and Nephthys, came to thee, Kam-
urt, in thy name of Kam-ur, Uatchet-urt, in thy name of Uatch-ur" "Isis and
Nephthys weave magical protection for thee in the city of Saut, for thee their lord, in thy
name of 'Lord of Saut,' for their god, in thy name of 'God.' They praise thee; go not thou
far from them in thy name of 'Tua.' They present offerings to thee; be not wroth in thy
name of 'Tchentru.' Thy sister Isis cometh to thee rejoicing in her love for thee . 30 Thou
hast union with her, thy seed entereth her. She conceiveth in the form of the star Septet
(Sothis). Horus-Sept issueth from thee in the form of Horus, dweller in the star Septet.
Thou makest a spirit to be in him in his name 'Spirit dwelling in the god Tchentru.' He
avengeth thee in his name of 'Horus, the son who avenged his father.' Hail, Osiris, Keb
hath brought to thee Horus, he hath avenged thee, he hath brought to thee the hearts of
the gods, Horus hath given thee his Eye, thou hast taken possession of the Urert Crown
thereby at the head of the gods. Horus hath presented to thee thy members, he hath
collected them completely, there is no disorder in thee. Thoth hath seized thy enemy
and hath slain him and those who were with him." The above words are addressed to
dead kings in the Pyramid Texts, and what the gods were supposed to do for them was
believed by the Egyptians to have been actually done for Osiris. These extracts are
peculiarly valuable, for they prove that the legend of Osiris which was current under the
XVIIIth Dynasty was based upon traditions which were universally accepted in Egypt
under the Vth and Vlth Dynasties.
The hymn concludes with a reference to the accession of Horus, son of Isis, the flesh and
bone of Osiris, to the throne of his grandfather Keb, and to the welcome which he
received from the Tchatcha, or Administrators of heaven, and the Company of the Gods,
and the Lords of Truth, who assembled in the Great House of Heliopolis to acknowledge
his sovereignty. His succession also received the approval of Neb-er-tcher, who, as we
saw from the first legend in this book, was the Creator of the Universe.
29 Teta, line 274; Pepi I., line 27; Mer-en-Ra, line 37; and Pepi II., line 67.
30 Pyramid Text, Teta, I. 276.
Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
A LEGEND OF KHENSU NEFER-HETEP 31 AND THE
PRI NCESS OF BEKHTEN
THE text of this legend is cut in hieroglyphics upon a sandstone stele, with a rounded
top, which was found in the temple of Khensu at Thebes, and is now preserved in the
Bibliotheque Nationale at Paris; it was discovered by Champollion, and removed to
Paris by Prisse d'Avennes in 1846. The text was first published by Prisse
d'Avennes, 32 and it was first translated by Birch 33 in 1853. The text was republished
and translated into French by E. de Rouge in 1858, 34 and several other renderings have
been given in German and in English since that date. 35 When the text was first
published, and for some years afterwards, it was generally thought that the legend
referred to events which were said to have taken place under a king who was identified
as Rameses XIII., but this misconception was corrected by Erman, who showed 36 that
the king was in reality Rameses II. By a careful examination of the construction of the
text he proved that the narrative on the stele was drawn up several hundreds of years
after the events described in it took place, and that its author was but imperfectly
acquainted with the form of the Egyptian language in use in the reign of Rameses II. In
fact, the legend was written in the interests of the priests of the temple of Khensu, who
wished to magnify their god and his power to cast out devils and to exorcise evil spirits;
it was probably composed between B.C. 650 and B.C. 250. 37
The legend, after enumerating the great names of Rameses II., goes on to state that the
king was in the "country of the two rivers," by which we are to understand some portion
of Mesopotamia, the rivers being the Tigris and Euphrates, and that the local chiefs were
bringing to him tribute consisting of gold, lapis-lazuli, turquoise, and logs of wood from
the Land of the God. It is difficult to understand how gold and logs of wood from
Southern Arabia and East Africa came to be produced as tribute by chiefs who lived so
far to the north. Among those who sent gifts was the Prince of Bekhten, and at the head
of all his tribute he sent his eldest daughter, bearing his message of homage and duty.
Now the maiden was beautiful, and the King of Egypt thought her so lovely that be took
her to wife, and bestowed upon, her the name "Ra-neferu," which means something like
the "beauties of Ra." He took her back with him to Egypt, where she was installed as
In the headlines of this section, p. 106 ff., for Ptah Nefer-hetep read Khensu Nefer-hetep.
32 Choixde Monuments Egyptiens, Paris, 1847, plate xxiv.
33 Transactions of the Royal Society of Literature, New Series, vol. iv., p. 217 ff.
34 Journal Asiatique ( Etude sur une Stele Egyptienne), August, 1856, August, 1857, and August-Sept., 1858,
Paris, 8vo, with plate.
35 Brugsch, Geschichte Aegyptens, 1877, p. 627 ff.; Birch, Records of the Past, Old Series, vol. iv., p. 53 ff.;
Budge, Egyptian Reading Book, text and transliteration, p. 40 ff.; translation, p. xxviii. ff.
36 Aeg. Zeit., 1883, pp. 54-60.
37 Maspero, Les Contes Populaires, 3rd edit., p. 166.
33 Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
During the summer of the fifteenth year of his reign, whilst Rameses II. was celebrating
a festival of Amen-Ra in the T emple of Luxor, one came to him and reported that an
envoy had arrived from the Prince of Bekhten, bearing with him many gifts for the Royal
Wife Ra-neferu. When the envoy had been brought into the presence, he addressed
words of homage to the king, and, having presented the gifts from his lord, he said that
he had come to beg His Majesty to send a "learned man," i.e., a magician, to Bekhten to
attend Bent-enth-resh, His Majesty's sister-in-law, who was stricken with some disease.
Thereupon the king summoned the learned men of the House of Life, i.e., the members
of the great College of Magic at Thebes, and the qenbetu officials, and when they had
entered his presence, he commanded them to select a man of "wise heart and deft
fingers" to go to Bekhten. The choice fell upon one Tehuti-em-heb, and His Majesty sent
him to Bekhten with the envoy. When they arrived in Bekhten, Tehuti-em-heb found
that the Princess Bent-enth-resh was possessed by an evil spirit which refused to be
exorcised by him, and he was unable to cast out the devil. The Prince of Bekhten, seeing
that the healing of his daughter was beyond the power of the Egyptian, sent a second
envoy to Rameses II., and besought him to send a god to drive out the devil. This envoy
arrived in Egypt in the summer of the twenty-sixth year of the reign of Rameses II., and
found the king celebrating a festival in Thebes. When he heard the petition of the envoy,
he went to the Temple of Khensu Nefer-hetep "a second time ," 38 and presented himself
before the god and besought his help on behalf of his sister-in-law.
Then the priests of Khensu Nefer-hetep carried the statue of this god to the place where
was the statue of Khensu surnamed "Pa-ari-sekher," i.e., the "Worker of destinies," who
was able to repel the attacks of evil spirits and to drive them out. When the statues of
the two gods were facing each other, Rameses II. entreated Khensu Nefer-hetep to "turn
his face towards," i.e., to look favourably upon Khensu. Pa-ari-sekher, and to let him go
to Bekhten to drive the devil out of the Princess of Bekhten. The text affords no
explanation of the fact that Khensu Nefer-hetep was regarded as a greater god than
Khensu Pa-ari-sekher, or why his permission had to be obtained before the latter could
leave the country. It is probable that the demands made upon Khensu Nefer-hetep by
the Egyptians who lived in Thebes and its neighbourhood were so numerous that it was
impossible to let his statue go into outlying districts or foreign lands, and that a deputy-
god was appointed to perform miracles outside Thebes. This arrangement would
benefit the people, and would, moreover, bring much money to the priests. The
appointment of a deputy-god is not so strange as it may seem, and modern African
peoples are familiar with the expedient. About one hundred years ago the priests of the
god Bobowissi of Winnebah, in the Tshi region of West Africa, found their business so
large that it was absolutely necessary for them to appoint a deputy. The priests
therefore selected Brahfo, i.e., "deputy," and gave out that Bobowissi had deputed all
minor matters to him, and that his utterances were to be regarded as those of
Bobowissi. Delegates were ordered to be sent to Winnebah in Ashanti, where they
would be shown the "deputy" god by the priests, and afterwards he would be taken to
38 Thus the king must have invoked the help of Khensu on the occasion of the visit of the first envoy.
Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
Mankassim, where he would reside, and do for the people all that Bobowissi had done
hitherto . 39
When Rameses II. had made his petition to Khensu Nefer-hetep, the statue of the god
bowed its head twice, in token of assent. Here it is clear that we have an example of the
use of statues with movable limbs, which were worked, when occasion required, by the
priests. The king then made a second petition to the god to transfer his sa, or magical
power, to Khensu Pa-ari-sekher so that when he had arrived in Bekhten he would be
able to heal the Princess. Again the statue of Khensu Nefer-hetep bowed its head twice,
and the petition of the king was granted. The text goes on to say that the magical power
of the greater god was transferred to the lesser god four times, or in a fourfold measure,
but we are not told how this was effected. We know from many passages in the texts
that every god was believed to possess this magical power, which is called the "sa of
life," or the "sa of the god,". 40 This sa could be transferred by a god or goddess to a
human being, either by an embrace or through some offering which was eaten. Thus
Temu transferred the magical power of his life to Shu and Tefnut by embracing
them, 41 and in the Ritual of the Divine Cult 42 the priest says, The two vessels of milk of
Temu are the sa of my limbs." The man who possessed this sa could transfer it to his
friend by embracing him and then "making passes" with his hands along his back.
The sa could be received by a man from a god and then transmitted by him to a statue
by taking it in his arms, and this ceremony was actually performed by the king in the
Ritual of the Divine Cult. 43 The primary source of this sa was Ra, who bestowed it
without measure on the blessed dead, 44 and caused them to live for ever thereby.
These, facts make it tolerably certain that the magical power of Khensu Nefer-hetep was
transferred to Khensu Pa-ari-sekher in one of two ways: either the statue of the latter
was brought near to that of the former and it received the sa by contact, or the high
priest first received the sa from the greater god and then transmitted it to the lesser god
by embraces and "passes" with his hands. Be this as it may, Khensu Pa-ari-sekher
received the magical power, and having been placed in his boat, he set out for Bekhten,
accompanied by five smaller boats, and chariots and horses which marched on each side
When after a journey of seventeen months Khensu Pa-ari-sekher arrived in Bekhten, he
was cordially welcomed by the Prince, and, having gone to the place where the Princess
who was possessed of a devil lived, he exercised his power to such purpose that she was
healed immediately. Moreover, the devil which had been cast out admitted that Khensu
Pa-ari-sekher was his master, and promised that he would depart to the place whence
he came, provided that the Prince of Bekhten would celebrate a festival in his honour
39 Ellis, Tshi-speaking Peoples, p. 55.
40 Text of Unas, line 562.
41 Pyramid Texts, Pepi I., I. 466.
42 Ed. Moret, p. 21.
43 Pyramid Texts, Pepi I., I. 466.
44 Ibid., p. 99.
35 Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
before his departure. Meanwhile the Prince and his soldiers stood by listening to the
conversation between the god and the devil, and they were very much afraid. Following
the instructions of Khensu Pa-ari-sekher the Prince made a great feast in honour of the
supernatural visitors, and then the devil departed to the "place which he loved," and
there was general rejoicing in the land. The Prince of Bekhten was so pleased with the
Egyptian god that he determined not to allow him to return to Egypt. When the statue of
Khensu Pa-ari-sekher had been in Bekhten for three years and nine months, the Prince
in a vision saw the god, in the form of a golden hawk, come forth from his shrine, and fly
up into the air and direct his course to Egypt. Realizing that the. statue of the god was
useless without its indwelling spirit, the Prince of Bekhten permitted the priests of
Khensu Pa-ari-sekher to depart with it to Egypt, and dismissed them with gifts of all
kinds. In due course they arrived in Egypt and the priests took their statue to the temple
of Khensu Nefer-hetep, and handed over to that god all the gifts which the Prince of
Bekhten had given them, keeping back nothing for their own god. After this Khensu Pa-
ari-sekher returned to his temple in peace, in the thirty-third year of the reign of
Rameses II., having been absent from it about eight years.
36 Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
A LEGEND OF KHNEMU AND OF A SEVEN YEARS' FAMI NE
THE text of this most interesting legend is found in hieroglyphics on one side of a large
rounded block of granite some eight or nine feet high, which stands on the south-east
portion of Sahal, a little island lying in the First Cataract, two or three miles to the south
of Elephantine Island and the modern town of Aswan. The inscription is not cut into the
rock in the ordinary way, but was "stunned" on it with a blunted chisel, and is, in some
lights, quite invisible to anyone standing near the rock, unless he is aware of its
existence. It is in full view of the river-path which leads from Mahallah to Philae, and yet
it escaped the notice of scores of travellers who have searched the rocks and islands in
the Cataract for graffiti and inscriptions. The inscription, which covers a space six feet
by five feet, was discovered accidentally on February 6th, 1889, by the late Mr. C. E.
Wilbour, a distinguished American gentleman who spent many years in research in
Egypt. He first copied the text, discovering in the course of his work the remarkable
nature of its contents and then his friend Mr. Maudslay photographed it. The following
year he sent prints from Mr. Maudslay's negatives to Dr. Brugsch, who in the course of
1891 published a transcript of the text with a German translation and notes in a work
entitled Die biblischen sieben Jahre der Hungersnoth, Leipzig, 8vo.
The legend contained in this remarkable text describes a terrible famine which took
place in the reign of Tcheser, a king of the Illrd Dynasty, and lasted for seven years.
Insufficient Nile-floods were, of course, the physical cause of the famine, but the legend
shows that the "low Niles" were brought about by the neglect of the Egyptians in respect
of the worship of the god of the First Cataract, the great god Khnemu. When, according
to the legend, king Tcheser had been made to believe that the famine took place because
men had ceased to worship Khnemu in a manner appropriate to his greatness, and
when he had taken steps to remove the ground of complaint, the Nile rose to its
accustomed height, the crops became abundant once more, and all misery caused by
scarcity of provisions ceased. In other words, when Tcheser restored the offerings of
Khnemu, and re-endowed his sanctuary and his priesthood, the god allowed Hapi to
pour forth his streams from the caverns in the Cataract, and to flood the land with
abundance. The general character of the legend, as we have it here, makes it quite
certain that it belongs to a late period, and the forms of the hieroglyphics and the
spellings of the words indicate that the text was "stunned" on the rock in the reign of
one of the Ptolemies, probably at a time when it was to the interest of some men to
restore the worship of Khnemu, god of the First Cataract. These interested people could
only have been the priests of Khnemu, and the probability that this was so becomes
almost a certainty when we read in the latter part of the text the list of the tolls and
taxes which they were empowered to levy on the merchants, farmers, miners, etc.,
whose goods passed down the Cataract into Egypt. Why, if this be the case, they should
have chosen to connect the famine with the reign of Tcheser is not clear. They may have
37 Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
wished to prove the great antiquity of the worship of Khnemu, but it would have been
quite easy to select the name of some king of the 1st Dynasty, and had they done this,
they would have made the authority of Khnemu over the Nile coaeval with Dynastic
civilization. It is impossible to assume that no great famine took place in Egypt between
the reign of Tcheser and the period when the inscription was made, and when we
consider this fact the choice by the editor of the legend of a famine which took place
under the Illrd Dynasty to illustrate the power of Khnemu seems inexplicable.
Of the famines which must have taken place in the Dynastic period the inscriptions tell
us nothing, but the story of the seven years' famine mentioned in the Book of Genesis
shows that there is nothing improbable in a famine lasting so long in Egypt. Arab
historians also mention several famines which lasted for seven years. That which took
place in the years 1066-1072 nearly ruined the whole country. A cake of bread was sold
for 15 dinanir, (the dinar = 10s.), a horse was sold for 20, a dog for 5, a cat for 3, and an
egg for 1 dinar. When all the animals were eaten men began to eat each other, and
human flesh was sold in public. "Passengers were caught in the streets by hooks let
down from the windows, drawn up, killed, and cooked." 45 During the famine which
began in 1201 people ate human flesh habitually. Parents killed and cooked their own
children, and a, wife was found eating her husband raw. Baby fricassee and haggis of
children's heads were ordinary articles of diet. The graves even were ransacked for
food. An ox sold for 70 dinanir. 46
The legend begins with the statement that in the 18th year of the reign of King Tcheser,
when Matar, the Erpa Prince and Ha, was the Governor of the temple properties of the
South and North, and was also the Director of the Khenti men at Elephantine (Aswan), a
royal despatch was delivered to him, in which the king said: "I am in misery on my
throne. My heart is very sore because of the calamity which hath happened, for the Nile
hath not come forth 47 for seven years. There is no grain, there are no vegetables, there
is no food, and every man is robbing his neighbour. Men wish to walk, but they are
unable to move; the young man drags along his limbs, the hearts of the aged are crushed
with despair, their legs fail them, they sink to the ground, and they clutch their bodies
with their hands in pain. The councillors are dumb, and nothing but wind comes out of
the granaries when they are opened. Everything is in a state of ruin." A more graphic
picture of the misery caused by the famine could hardly be imagined. The king then goes
on to ask Matar where the Nile is born? what god or goddess presides over it? and what
is his [or her] form? He says he would like to go to the temple of Thoth to enquire of that
god, to go to the College of the Magicians, and search through the sacred books in order
to find out these things.
When Matar had read the despatch, he set out to go to the king, and explained to him the
things which he wished to know. He told him that, the Nile rose near the city of
45 Pepi I., line 666.
46 Lane Poole, Middle Ages, p. 146.
47 Ibid., p. 216.
38 Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
Elephantine, that it flowed out of two caverns, which were the breasts of the Nile-god,
that it rose to a height of twenty-eight cubits at Elephantine, and to the height of seven
cubits at Sma-Behutet, or, Diospolis Parva in the Delta. He who controlled the Nile was
Khnemu, and when this god drew the bolt of the doors which shut in the stream, and
smote the earth with his sandals, the river rushed forth. Matar also described to the king
the form of Khnemu, which was that of Shu, and the work which he did, and the wooden
house in which he lived, and its exact position, which was near the famous granite
quarries. The gods who dwelt with Khnemu were the goddess Sept (Sothis, or the Dog-
star), the goddess Anqet, Hap (or Hep), the Nile-god, Shu, Keb, Nut, Osiris, Isis,
Nephthys, and Horus. Thus we see that the priests of Khnemu made him to be the head
of a Company of Gods. Finally Matar gave the king a list of all the stones, precious and
otherwise, which were found in and about Elephantine.
When the king, who had, it seems, come to Elephantine, heard these things he rejoiced
greatly, and he went into the temple of Khnemu. The priests drew back the curtains and
sprinkled him with holy water, and then he passed into the shrine and offered up a great
sacrifice of bread-cakes, beer, geese, oxen, and all kinds of good things, to the gods and
goddesses who dwelt at Elephantine, in the place called "Couch of the heart in life and
power," Suddenly he found himself standing face to face with the god Khnemu, whom he
placated with a peace-offering and with prayer. Then the god opened his eyes, and bent
his body towards the king, and spake to him mighty words, saying, "I am Khnemu, who
made thee. My hands knitted together thy body and made it sound, and I gave thee thy
heart." Khnemu then went on to complain that, although the ground under the king's
feet was filled with stones and metal, men were too inert to work them and to employ
them in repairing or rebuilding of the shrines of the gods, or in doing what they ought to
do for him, their Lord and Creator. These words were, of course, meant as a rebuke for
the king, who evidently, though it is not so stated in the text, was intended by Khnemu
to undertake the rebuilding of his shrine without delay. The god then went on to
proclaim his majesty and power, and declared himself to be Nu, the Celestial Ocean, and
the Nile-god, "who came into being at the beginning, and riseth at his will to give health
to him that laboureth for Khnemu." He described himself as the Father of the gods, the
Governor of the earth and of men, and then he promised the king to make the Nile rise
yearly, regularly, and unceasingly, to give abundant harvests, to give all people their
heart's desire, to make misery to pass away, to fill the granaries, and to make the whole
land of Egypt yellow with waving fields of full ripe grain. When the king, who had been
in a dream, heard the god mention crops, he woke up, and his courage returned to him,
and having cast away despair from his heart he issued a decree by which he made ample
provision for the maintenance of the worship of the god in a fitting state. In this decree,
the first copy of which was cut upon wood, the king endowed Khnemu with 20 schoinoi
of land on each side of the river, with gardens, etc. It was further enacted that every man
who drew water from the Nile for his land should contribute a portion of his crops to
the god. Fishermen, fowlers, and hunters were to pay an octroi duty of one-tenth of the
value of their catches when they brought them into the city, and a tithe of the cattle was
39 Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
to be set apart for the daily sacrifice. The masters of caravans coming from the Sudan
were to pay a tithe also, but they were not liable to any further tax in the country
northwards. Every metal-worker, ore-crusher, miner, mason, and handicraftsman of
every kind, was to pay to the temple of the god one-tenth of the value of the material
produced or worked by his labour. The decree provided also for the appointment of an
inspector whose duty it would be to weigh the gold, silver and copper which came into
the town of Elephantine, and to assess the value both of these metals and of the precious
stones, etc., which were to be devoted to the service of Khnemu. All materials employed
in making the images of the gods, and all handicraftsmen employed in the work were
exempted from tithing. In short, the worship of the god and his company was to be
maintained according to ancient use and wont, and the people were to supply the
temple with everything necessary in a generous spirit and with a liberal hand. He who
failed in any way to comply with the enactments was to be beaten with the rope, and the
name of Tcheser was to be perpetuated in the temple.
Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
THE LEGEND OF THE DEATH AND RESURRECTI ON OF
HORUS, AND OTHER MAGI CAL TEXTS
THE magical and religious texts of the Egyptians of all periods contain spells intended to
be used against serpents, scorpions, and noxious reptiles of all kinds, and their number,
and the importance which was attached to them, suggest that Egypt must always have
produced these pests in abundance, and that the Egyptians were always horribly afraid
of them. The text of Unas, which was written towards the close of the Vth Dynasty,
contains many such spells, and in the Theban and Saite Books of the Dead several
Chapters consist of nothing but spells and incantations, many of which are based on
archaic texts, against crocodiles, serpents, and other deadly reptiles, and insects of all
kinds. All such creatures were regarded as incarnations of evil spirits, which attack the
dead as well as the living, and therefore it was necessary for the well-being of the
former that copies of spells against them should be written upon the walls of tombs,
coffins, funerary amulets, etc. The gods were just as open to the attacks of venomous
reptiles as man, and Ra, himself, the king of the gods, nearly died from the poison of a
snake-bite. Now the gods were, as a rule, able to defend themselves against the attacks
of Set and his fiends, and the poisonous snakes and insects which were their emissaries,
o 1 4
by virtue of the "fluid of life," 1 , which was the peculiar attribute of
divinity, and the efforts of Egyptians were directed to the acquisition of a portion of this
magical power, which would protect their souls and bodies and their houses and cattle,
and other property, each day and each night throughout the year. When a man cared for
the protection of himself only he wore an amulet of some kind, in which the wa
localized. When he wished to protect his house against invasion by venomous reptiles
he placed statues containing the in niches in the walls of various chambers, or in
some place outside but near the house, or buried them in the earth with their faces
turned in the direction from which he expected the attack to come.
Towards the close of the XXVIth Dynasty, when superstition in its most exaggerated
form was general in Egypt, it became the custom to make house talismans in the form of
small stone stelae, with rounded tops, which rested on bases having convex fronts.
Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
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The Metternich Stele — Reverse
On the front of such a talisman was sculptured in relief a figure of Horus the Child
(Harpokrates), standing on two crocodiles, holding in his hands figures of serpents,
scorpions, a lion, and a horned animal, each of these being a symbol of an emissary or
ally of Set, the god of Evil. Above his head was the head of Bes, and on each side of him
were: solar symbols, i.e., the lily of Nefer-Tem, figures of Ra and Harmakhis, the Eyes of
Ra (the Sun and Moon), etc. The reverse of the stele and the whole of the base were
covered with magical texts and spells, and when a talisman of this kind was placed in a
house, it was supposed to be directly under the protection of Horus and his companion
gods, who had vanquished all the hosts of darkness and all the powers of physical and
moral evil. Many examples of this talisman are to be seen in the great Museums of
43 Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
Europe, and there are several fine specimens in the Third Egyptian Room in the British
Museum. They are usually called "Cippi of Horus." The largest and most important of all
these "cippi" is that which is commonly known as the "Metternich Stele," because it was
given to Prince Metternich by Muhammad 'Ali Pasha; it was dug up in 1828 during the
building of a cistern in a Franciscan Monastery in Alexandria, and was first published,
with a translation of a large part of the text, by Professor Golenischeff. 48 The
importance of the stele is enhanced by the fact that it mentions the name of the king in
whose reign it was made, viz., Nectanebus I., who reigned from B.C. 378 to B.C. 360.
The obverse, reverse, and two sides of the Metternich Stele have cut upon them nearly
three hundred figures of gods and celestial beings. These include figures of the great
gods of heaven, earth, and the Other World, figures of the gods of the planets and the
Dekans, figures of the gods of the days of the week, of the weeks, and months, and
seasons of the year, and of the year. Besides these there are a number of figures of local
forms of the gods which it is difficult to identify. On the rounded portion of the obverse
the place of honour is held by the solar disk, in which is seen a figure of Khnemu with
four ram's heads, which rests between a pair of arms, and is supported on a lake of
celestial water; on each side of it are four of the spirits of the dawn, and on the right
stands the symbol of the rising sun, Nefer-Temu, and on the left stands Thoth. Below
this are five rows of small figures of gods. Below these is Harpokrates in relief, in the
attitude already described. He stands on two crocodiles under a kind of canopy, the
sides of which are supported by Thoth and Isis, and holds Typhonic animals and
reptiles. Above the canopy are the two Eyes of Ra, each having a pair of human arms and
hands. On the right of Harpokrates are Seker and Horus, and on his left the symbol of
Nefer-Temu. On the left and right are the goddesses Nekhebet and Uatchet, who guard
the South of Egypt and the North respectively. On the reverse and sides are numerous
small figures of gods. This stele represented the power to protect man possessed by all
the divine beings in the universe, and, however it was placed, it formed an impassable
barrier to every spirit of evil and to every venomous reptile. The spells, which are cut in
hieroglyphics on all the parts of the stele not occupied by figures of gods, were of the
most potent character, for they contained the actual words by which the gods
vanquished the powers of darkness and evil. These spells form the texts which are
printed on p. 142 ff., and may be thus summarized:-
The first spell is an incantation directed against reptiles and noxious creatures in
general. The chief of these was Apep, the great enemy of Ra, who took the form of a huge
serpent that "resembled the intestines," and the spell doomed him to decapitation, and
burning and backing in pieces. These things would be effected by Serqet, the Scorpion-
goddess. The second part of the spell was directed against the poison of Apep, and was
to be recited over anyone who was bitten by a snake. When uttered by Horus it made
See Mettemichstele, Leipzig, 1877. The Stele was made for Ankh-Psemthek, son of the lady Tent-Het-nub,
prophet of Nebun, overseer of Temt and scribe of Het (see line 87).
44 Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
Apep to vomit, and when used by a magician properly qualified would make the bitten
person to vomit, and so free his body from the poison.
The next spell is directed to be said to the Cat, i.e., a symbol of the daughter of Ra, or Isis,
who had the head of Ra, the eyes of the uraeus, the nose of Thoth, the ears of Neb-er-
tcher, the mouth of Tern, the neck of Neheb-ka, the breast of Thoth, the heart of Ra, the
hands of the gods, the belly of Osiris, the thighs of Menthu, the legs of Khensu, the feet of
Amen-Horus, the haunches of Horus, the soles of the feet of Ra, and the bowels of Meh-
urit. Every member of the Cat contained a god or goddess, and she was able to destroy
the poison of any serpent, or scorpion, or reptile, which might be injected into her body.
The spell opens with an address to Ra, who is entreated to come to his daughter, who
has been stung by a scorpion on a lonely road, and to cause the poison to leave her body.
Thus it seems as if Isis, the great magician, was at some time stung by a scorpion.
The next section is very difficult to understand. Ra-Harmakhis is called upon to come to
his daughter, and Shu. to his wife, and Isis to her sister, who has been poisoned. Then
the Aged One, i.e., Ra, is asked to let Thoth turn back Neha-her, or Set. "Osiris is in the
water, but Horus is with him, and the Great Beetle overshadows him," and every evil
spirit which dwells in the water is adjured to allow Horus to proceed to Osiris. Ra,
Sekhet, Thoth, and Heka, this last-named being the spell personified, are the four great
gods who protect Osiris, and who will blind and choke his enemies, and cut out their
tongues. The cry of the Cat is again referred to, and Ra is asked if he does not remember
the cry which came from the bank of Netit. The allusion here is to the cries which Isis
uttered when she arrived at Netit near Abydos, and found lying there the dead body of
At this point on the Stele the spells are interrupted by a long narrative put into the
mouth of Isis, which supplies us with some account of the troubles that she suffered,
and describes the death of Horus through the sting of a scorpion. Isis, it seems, was shut
up in some dwelling by Set after he murdered Osiris, probably with the intention of
forcing her to marry him, and so assist him to legalize his seizure of the kingdom. Isis, as
we have already seen, had been made pregnant by her husband after his death, and
Thoth now appeared to her, and advised her to hide herself with her unborn child, and
to bring him forth in secret, and he promised her that her son should succeed in due
course to his father's throne. With the help of Thoth she escaped from her captivity, and
went forth accompanied by the Seven Scorpion-goddesses, who brought her to the town
of Per-Sui, on the edge of the Reed Swamps. She applied to a woman for a night's
shelter, but the woman shut her door in her face. T o punish her one of the Scorpion-
goddesses forced her way into the woman's house, and stung her child to death. The
grief of the woman was so bitter and sympathy-compelling that Isis laid her hands on
the child, and, having uttered one of her most potent spells over him, the poison of the
scorpion ran out of his body, and the child came to life again. The words of the spell are
cut on the Stele, and they were treasured by the Egyptians as an infallible remedy for
scorpion stings. When the woman saw that her son had been brought back to life by Isis,
45 Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
she was filled with joy and gratitude, and, as a mark of her repentance, she brought
large quantities of things from her house as gifts for Isis, and they were so many that
they filled the house of the kind, but poor, woman who had given Isis shelter.
Now soon after Isis had restored to life the son of the woman who had shown
churlishness to her, a terrible calamity fell upon her, for her beloved son Horus was
stung by a scorpion and died. The news of this event was conveyed to her by the gods,
who cried out to her to come to see her son Horus, whom the terrible scorpion Uhat had
killed. Isis, stabbed with pain at the news, as if a knife had been driven into her body,
ran out distraught with grief. It seems that she had gone to perform a religious
ceremony in honour of Osiris in a temple near Hetep-hemt, leaving her child carefully
concealed in Sekhet-An. During her absence the scorpion Uhat, which had been sent by
Set, forced its way into the hiding-place of Horus, and there stung him to death. When
Isis came and found the dead body, she burst forth in lamentations, the sound of which
brought all the people from the neighbouring districts to her side. As she related to
them the history of her sufferings they endeavoured to console her, and when they
found this to be impossible they lifted up their voices and wept with her. Then Isis
placed her nose in the mouth of Horus so that she might discover if he still breathed, but
there was no breath in his throat; and when she examined the wound in his body made
by the fiend Aun-Ab she saw in it traces of poison. No doubt about his death then
remained in her mind, and clasping him in her arms she lifted him up, and in her
transports of grief leaped about like fish when they are laid on red-hot coals. Then she
uttered a series of heartbreaking laments, each of which begins with the words "Horus
is bitten." The heir of heaven, the son of Un-Nefer, the child of the gods, he who was
wholly fair, is bitten! He for whose wants I provided, he who was to avenge his father, is
bitten! He for whom I cared and suffered when he was being fashioned in my womb, is
bitten! He whom I tended so that I might gaze upon him, is bitten! He whose life I
prayed for is bitten! Calamity hath overtaken the child, and he hath perished.
Whilst Isis was saying these and many similar words, her sister Nephthys, who had
been weeping bitterly for her nephew Horus as she wandered about among the
swamps, came, in company with the Scorpion-goddess Serqet, and advised Isis to pray
to heaven for help. Pray that the sailors in the Boat of Ra may cease from rowing, for the
Boat cannot travel onwards whilst Horus lies dead. Then Isis cried out to heaven, and
her voice reached the Boat of Millions of Years, and the Disk ceased to move onward,
and came to a standstill. From the Boat Thoth descended, being equipped with words of
power and spells of all kinds, and bearing with him the "great command of maa-kheru,"
i.e., the WORD, whose commands were performed, instantly and completely, by every
god, spirit, fiend, human being and by every thing, animate and inanimate, in heaven,
earth, and the Other World. Then he came to Isis and told her that no harm could
possibly have happened to Horus, for he was under the protection of the Boat of Ra; but
his words failed to comfort Isis, and though she acknowledged the greatness of his
designs, she complained that they savoured of delay. "What is the good," she asks, "of all
thy spells, and incantations, and magical formulae, and the great command of maa-
46 Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
kheru, if Horus is to perish by the poison of a scorpion, and to lie here in the arms of
Death? Evil, evil is his destiny, for it hath entailed the deepest misery for him and
In answer to these words Thoth, turning to Isis and Nephthys, bade them to fear not,
and to have no anxiety about Horus, "For," said he, "I have come from heaven to heal the
child for his mother." He then pointed out that Horus was under protection as the
Dweller in his Disk (Aten), the Great Dwarf, the Mighty Ram, the Great Hawk, the Holy
Beetle, the Hidden Body, the Divine Bennu, etc., and proceeded to utter the great spell
which restored Horus to life. By his words of power Thoth transferred the "fluid of life"
of Ra, and as soon as this came upon the child's body the poison of the scorpion flowed
out of him, and he once more breathed and lived. When this was done Thoth returned to
the Boat of Ra, the gods who formed its crew resumed their rowing, and the Disk passed
on its way to make its daily journey across the sky. The gods in heaven, who were
amazed and uttered cries of terror when they heard of the death of Horus, were made
happy once more, and sang songs of joy over his recovery. The happiness of Isis in her
child's restoration to life was very great, for she could again hope that he would avenge
his father's murder, and occupy his throne. The final words of Thoth comforted her
greatly, for he told her that he would take charge of the case of Horus in the Judgment
Hall of Anu, wherein Osiris had been judged, and that as his advocate he would make
any accusations which might be brought against Horus to recoil on him that brought
them. Furthermore, he would give Horus power to repulse any attacks which might be
made upon him by beings in the heights above, or fiends in the depths below, and would
ensure his succession to the Throne of the Two Lands, i.e., Egypt. Thoth also promised
Isis that Ra himself should act as the advocate of Horus, even as he had done for his
father Osiris. He was also careful to allude to the share which Isis had taken in the
restoration of Horus to life, saying, "It is the words of power of his mother which have
lifted up his face, and they shall enable him to journey wheresoever he pleaseth, and to
put fear into the powers above. I myself hasten [to obey them]." Thus everything turned
on the power of the spells of Isis, who made the sun to stand still, and caused the dead
to be raised.
Such are the contents of the texts on the famous Metternich Stele. There appears to be
some confusion in their arrangement, and some of them clearly are misplaced, and, in
places, the text is manifestly corrupt. It is impossible to explain several passages, for we
do not understand all the details of the system of magic which they represent. Still, the
general meaning of the texts on the Stele is quite clear, and they record a legend of Isis
and Horus which is not found so fully described on any other monument.
47 Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
THE HI STORY OF I SI S AND OSI Rl S
THE history of Isis and Osiris given on pp. 198-248 is taken from the famous treatise of
Plutarch entitled De Iside et Osiride, and forms a fitting conclusion to this volume of
Legends of the Gods. It contains all the essential facts given in Plutarch's work, and the
only things omitted are his derivations and mythological speculations, which are really
unimportant for the Egyptologist. Egyptian literature is full of allusions to events which
took place in the life of Osiris, and to his persecution, murder, and resurrection, and
numerous texts of all periods describe the love and devotion of his sister and wife Isis,
and the filial piety of Horus. Nowhere, however, have we in Egyptian a connected
account of the causes which led to the murder by Set of Osiris, or of the subsequent
events which resulted in his becoming the king of heaven and judge of the dead.
However carefully we piece together the fragments of information which we can extract
from native Egyptian literature, there still remains a series of gaps which can only be
filled by guesswork. Plutarch, as a learned man and a student of comparative religion
and mythology was most anxious to understand the history of Isis and Osiris, which
Greek and Roman scholars talked about freely, and which none of them comprehended,
and he made enquiries of priests and others, and examined critically such information
as he could obtain, believing and hoping that he would penetrate the mystery in which
these gods were wrapped. As a result of his labours he collected a number of facts about
the form of the Legend of Isis and Osiris as it was known to the learned men of his day,
but there is no evidence that he had the slightest knowledge of the details of the original
African Legend of these gods as it was known to the Egyptians, say, under the Vlth
Dynasty. Moreover, he never realized that the characteristics and attributes of both Isis
and Osiris changed several times during the long history of Egypt, and that a thousand
years before he lived the Egyptians themselves had forgotten what the original form of
the legend was. They preserved a number of ceremonies, and performed very carefully
all the details of an ancient ritual at the annual commemoration festival of Osiris which
was held in November and December, but the evidence of the texts makes it quite clear
that the meaning and symbolism of nearly all the details were unknown alike to priests
An important modification of the cult of Isis and Osiris took place in the third century
before. Christ, when the Ptolemies began to consolidate their rule in Egypt. A form of
religion which would be acceptable both to Egyptians and Greeks had to be provided,
and this was produced by modifying the characteristics of Osiris and calling him Sarapis,
and identifying him with the Greek Pluto. To Isis were added many of the attributes of
the great Greek goddesses, and into her worship were introduced "mysteries" derived
from non-Egyptian cults, which made it acceptable to the people everywhere. Had a
high priest of Osiris who lived at Abydos under the XVIIIth Dynasty witnessed the
celebration of the great festival of Isis and Osiris in any large town in the first century
48 Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
before Christ, it is tolerably certain that he would have regarded it as a lengthy act of
worship of strange gods, in which there appeared, here and there, ceremonies and
phrases which reminded him of the ancient Abydos ritual. When the form of the cult of
Isis and Osiris introduced by the Ptolemies into Egypt extended to the great cities of
Greece and Italy, still further modifications took place in it, and the characters of Isis
and Osiris were still further changed. By degrees Osiris came to be regarded as the god
of death pure and simple, or as the personification of Death, and he ceased to be
regarded as the great protecting ancestral spirit, and the all-powerful protecting Father
of his people. As the importance of Osiris declined that of Isis grew, and men came to
regard her as the great Mother-goddess of the world. The priests described from
tradition the great facts of her life according to the Egyptian legends, how she had been
a loving and devoted wife, how she had gone forth after her husband's murder by Set to
seek for his body, how she had found it and brought it home, how she revivified it by her
spells and had union with Osiris and conceived by him, and how in due course she
brought forth her son, in pain and sorrow and loneliness in the Swamps of the Delta,
and how she reared him and watched over him until he was old enough to fight and
vanquish his father's murderer, and how at length she seated him in triumph on his
father's throne. These things endeared Isis to the people everywhere, and as she herself
had not suffered death like Osiris, she came to be regarded as the eternal mother of life
and of all living things. She was the creatress of crops, she produced fruit, vegetables,
plants of all kinds and trees, she made cattle prolific, she brought men and women
together and gave them offspring, she was the authoress of all love, virtue, goodness and
happiness. She made the light to shine, she was the spirit of the Dog-star which heralded
the Nile-flood, she was the source of the power in the beneficent light of the moon; and
finally she took the dead to her bosom and gave them peace, and introduced them to a
life of immortality and happiness similar to that which she had bestowed upon Osiris.
The message of the cult of Isis as preached by her priests was one of hope and
happiness, and coming to the Greeks and Romans, as it did, at a time when men were
weary of their national cults, and when the speculations of the philosophers carried no
weight with the general public, the people everywhere welcomed it with the greatest
enthusiasm. From Egypt it was carried to the Islands of Greece and to the mainland, to
Italy, Germany, France, Spain and Portugal, and then crossing the western end of the
Mediterranean it entered North Africa, and with Carthage as a centre spread east and
west along the coast. Wherever the cult of Isis came men accepted it as something which
supplied what they thought to be lacking in their native cults; rich and poor, gentle and
simple, all welcomed it, and the philosopher as well as the ignorant man rejoiced in the
hope of a future life which it gave to them. Its Egyptian origin caused it to be regarded
with the profoundest interest, and its priests were most careful to make the temples of
Isis quite different from those of the national gods, and to decorate them with obelisks,
sphinxes, shrines, altars, etc., which were either imported from temples in Egypt, or
were copied from Egyptian originals. In the temples of Isis services were held at
daybreak and in the early afternoon daily, and everywhere these were attended by
49 Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
crowds of people. The holy water used in the libations and for sprinkling the people was
Nile water, specially imported from Egypt, and to the votaries of the goddess it
symbolized the seed of the god Osiris, which germinated and brought forth fruit through
the spells of the goddess Isis. The festivals and processions of Isis were everywhere
most popular, and were enjoyed by learned and unlearned alike. In fact, the Isis-play
which was acted annually in November, and the festival of the blessing of the ship,
which took place in the spring, were the most important festivals of the year. Curiously
enough, all the oldest gods and goddesses of Egypt passed into absolute oblivion, with
the exception of Osiris (Sarapis), Isis, Anubis the physician, and Harpokrates, the child
of Osiris and Isis, and these, from being the ancestral spirits of a comparatively obscure
African tribe in early dynastic times, became for several hundreds of years the principal
objects of worship of some of the most cultured and intellectual nations. The treatise of
Plutarch De hide helps to explain how this came about, and for those who study the
Egyptian Legend of Isis and Osiris the work has considerable importance.
Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
LEGENDS OF EGYPTIAN GODS
THE HI STORY OF CREATI ON-A
THE BOOK OF KNOWING THE EVOLUTIONS 49 OF RA, AND OF OVERTHROWING APEP.
[These are] the; words which the god Neb-er-tcher spake after he had, come into being:-
-"I am he who came into being in the form of the god Khepera, and I am the creator of
that which came into being, that is to say, I am the creator of everything which came
into being: now the things which I created, and which came forth out of my month after
that I had come into being myself were exceedingly many. The sky (or heaven) had not
come into being, the earth did not exist, and the children of the earth 50 , and the
creeping, things, had not been made at that time. I myself raised them up from out of
Nu 51 , from a state of helpless inertness. I found no place whereon I could stand. I
worked a charm 52 upon my own heart (or, will), I laid the foundation [of things] by
Maat , 53 and I made everything which had form. I was [then] one by myself, for I had not
emitted from myself the god Shu, and I had not spit out from myself the goddess T efnut;
and there existed no other who could work with me. I laid the foundations [of things] in
my own heart, and there came into being multitudes of created things, which came into
being from the created things which were born from the created things which arose
from what they brought forth. I had union with my closed hand, and I embraced my
shadow as a wife, and I poured seed into my own mouth, and I sent forth from myself
issue in the form of the gods Shu and Tefnut. Saith my father Nu:--My Eye was covered
up behind them (i.e., Shu. and Tefnut), but after two hen periods had passed from the
time when they departed from me, from being one god I became three gods, and I came
into being in the earth. Then Shu and Tefnut rejoiced from out of the inert watery mass
wherein they I were, and they brought to me my Eye (i.e., the Sun). Now after these
things I gathered together my members, and I wept over them, and men and women
sprang into being from the tears which came forth from my Eye. And when my Eye came
to me, and found that I had made another [Eye] in place where it was (i.e., the Moon), it
was wroth with (or, raged at) me, whereupon I endowed it (i.e., the (second Eye) with
[some of] the splendour which I had made for the first [Eye], and I made it to occupy its
place in my Face, and henceforth it ruled throughout all this earth.
When there fell on them their moment 54 through plant-like clouds, I restored what had
been taken away from them, and I appeared from out of the plant-like clouds. I created
creeping things of every kind, and everything which came into being from them. Shu
Kheperu. The verb KHEPER means "to make, to form, to produce, to become, and to roll; kheperu here
means "the things which come into being through the rollings of the ball of the god Kheper (the roller)," i.e.,
50 I.e., serpents and snakes, or perhaps plants.
51 The primeval watery mass which was the source and origin of all beings and things.
52 I.e., he uttered a magical formula.
53 I.e., by exact and definite rules.
54 I.e., the period of calamity wherein their light was veiled through plant-like clouds.
Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
and Tefnut brought forth [Seb and] Nut; and Seb and Nut brought forth Osiris, and Heru-
khent-an-maati , 55 and Set, and Isis, and Nephthys 56 at one birth, one after the other,
and they produced their multitudinous offspring in this earth."
I.e., the Blind Horus.
I.e., these five gods were all born at one time.
52 Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
THE HI STORY OF CREATI ON-B
THE BOOK OF KNOWING THE EVOLUTIONS OF RA, AND OF OVERTHROWING APEP.
[These are] the words of the god Neb-er-tcher, who said: "I am the creator of what hath
come into being, and I myself came into being under the form of the god Khepera, and I
came into being in primeval time. I came into being in the form of Khepera, and I am the
creator of what did come into being, that is to say, I formed myself out of the primeval
matter, and I made and formed myself out of the substance which existed in primeval
time. My name is AUSARES (i.e., Osiris), who is the primeval matter of primeval matter. I
have done my will in everything in this earth. I have spread myself abroad therein, and I
have made strong my hand. I was ONE by myself, for they (i.e., the gods) had not been
brought forth, and I had emitted from myself neither Shu nor Tefnut. I brought my own
name 57 into my mouth as a word of power, and I forthwith came into being under the
form of things which are and under the form of Khepera. I came into being from out of
primeval matter, and from the beginning I appeared under the form of the
multitudinous things which exist; nothing whatsoever existed at that time in this earth,
and it was I who made whatsoever was made. I was ONE: by myself, and there was no
other being who worked with me in that place. I made all the things under the forms of
which I appeared then by means of the Soul-God which I raised into firmness at that
time from out of Nu, from a state of inactivity. I found no place whatsoever there
whereon I could stand, I worked by the power of a spell by means of my heart, I laid a
foundation [for things] before me, and whatsoever was made, I made. I was ONE by
myself, and I laid the foundation of things [by means of] my heart, and I made the other
things which came into being, and the things of Khepera which were made were
manifold, and their offspring came into existence from the things to which they gave
birth. I it was who emitted Shu, and I it was who emitted Tefnut, and from being the
ONE, god (or, the only god) I became three gods; the two other gods who came into
being on this earth sprang from me, and Shu and Tefnut rejoiced (or, were raised up)
from out of Nu in which they were. Now behold, they brought my Eye to me after
two hen periods since the time when they went forth from me. I gathered together my
members (which had appeared in my own body, and afterwards I had union with my
hand, and my heart (or, will) came unto me from out of my hand, and the seed fell into
my mouth, and I emitted from myself the gods Shu and Tefnut, and so from being the
ONE god (or, the only, god) I became three gods; thus the two other gods who came into
being on this earth sprang from me, and Shu and Tefnut rejoiced (or, were raised up)
from out of Nu in which they were. My father Nu saith:-They covered up (or, concealed)
my Eye with the plant-like clouds which were behind them (i.e., Shu and Tefnut) for
very many henperiods. Plants and creeping things [sprang up] from the god REM,
through the tears which I let fall. I cried out to my Eye, and men and women came into
existence. Then I bestowed upon my Eye the uraeus of fire, and it was wroth with me
when another Eye (i.e., the Moon) came and grew up in its place; its vigorous power fell
57 I.e., I uttered my own name from my own mouth as a word of power.
53 Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
on the plants, on the plants which I had placed there, and it set order among them, and it
took up its place in my face, and it doth rule the whole earth. Then Shu and Tefnut
brought forth Osiris, and Heru-khenti-an-maa, and Set, and Isis, and Nephthys and
behold, they have produced offspring, and have created multitudinous children in this
earth, by means of the beings which came into existence from the creatures which they
produced. They invoke my name, and they overthrow their enemies, and they make
words of power for the overthrowing of Apep, over whose hands and arms AKER
keepeth ward. His hands and arms shall not exist, his feet and leas shall not exist, and he
is chained in one place whilst Ra inflicts upon him the blows which are decreed for him.
He is thrown upon his accursed back, his face is slit open by reason of the evil which he
hath done, and he shall remain upon his accursed back."
54 Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
THE LEGEND OF THE DESTRUCTI ON OF MANKI ND.
[Here is the story of Ra,] the god who was self-begotten and self-created, after he had
assumed the sovereignty over men and women, and gods, and things, the ONE god. Now
men and women were speaking words of complaint, saying:-"Behold, his Majesty (Life,
Strength, and Health to him!) hath grown old, and his bones have become like (silver,
and his members have turned into gold and his hair is like unto real lapis-lazuli." His
Majesty heard the words of complaint which men and women were uttering, and his
Majesty (Life, Strength, and Health to him!) said unto those who were in his train:-"Cry
out, and bring to me my Eye, and Shu, and Tefnut, and Seb, and Nut, and the father-gods,
and the mother-gods who were with me, even when I was in Nu side by side with my
god Nu. Let there be brought along with my Eye his ministers, and let them be led to me
hither secretly, so that men and women may not perceive them [coming] hither, and
may not therefore take to flight with their hearts. Come thou 58 with them to the Great
House, and let them declare their plans (or, arrangements) fully, for I will go from Nu
into the place wherein I brought about my own existence, and let those gods be brought
unto me there." Now the gods were drawn up on each side of Ra, and they bowed down
before his Majesty until their heads touched the ground, and the maker of men and
women, the king of those who have knowledge, spake his words in the presence of the
Father of the first-born gods. And the gods spake in the presence of his Majesty, saying:-
-"Speak unto us, for we are listening to them" (i.e., thy words). Then RA spake unto Nu,
saying:-"0 thou first-born god from whom 1 came into being, 0 ye gods of ancient time,
my ancestors, take ye heed to what men and women [are doing]; for behold, those who
were created by my Eye are uttering words of complaint against me. Tell me what ye
would do in the matter, and consider this thing for me, and seek out [a plan] for me, for I
will not slay them until I have heard what ye shall say to me concerning it."
Then the Majesty of Nu, to son Ra, spake, saying:-"Thou art the god who art greater
than he who made thee, thou art the sovereign of those who were created with thee, thy
throne is set, and the fear of thee is great; let thine Eye go against those who have
uttered blasphemies against thee." And the Majesty of Ra, said:-" Behold, they have
betaken themselves to flight into the mountain lands, for their hearts are afraid because
of the words which they have uttered." Then the gods spake in the presence of his
Majesty, saying:-"Let thine Eye go forth and let it destroy for thee those who revile thee
with words of evil, for there is no eye whatsoever that can go before it and resist thee
and it when it journeyeth in the form of Hathor." Thereupon this goddess went forth
and slew the men and the women who were on the mountain (or, desert land). And the
Majesty of this god said, "Come, come in peace, 0 Hathor, for the work is accomplished."
Then this goddess said, "Thou hast made me to live, for when I gained the mastery over
men and women it was sweet to my heart;" and the Majesty of Ra said, "I myself will be
58 The god here addressed appears to have been Nu.
Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
master over them as [their] king, and I will destroy them." And it came to pass that
Sekhet of the offerings waded about in the night season in their blood, beginning at
Suten-henen. 59 Then the Majesty of Ra, spake [saying], "Cry out, and let there come to
me swift and speedy messengers who shall be able to run like the wind and
straightway messengers of this [kind were brought unto him. And the Majesty of this
god spake [saying], "Let these messengers go to Abu, 60 and bring unto me mandrakes in
great numbers;" and [when] these mandrakes were brought unto him the Majesty of
this god gave them to Sekhet, the goddess who dwelleth in Annu (Heliopolis) to crush.
And behold, when the maidservants were bruising the grain for [making] beer, these
mandrakes were placed in the vessels which were to hold the beer, and some of the
blood of the men and women [who had been slain]. Now they made seven thousand
vessels of beer. Now when the Majesty of RE, the King of the South and North, had come
with the gods to look at the vessels of beer, and behold, the daylight had appeared after
the slaughter of men and women by the goddess in their season as she sailed up the
river, the Majesty of Ra said, "It is good, it is good, nevertheless I must protect men and
women against her." And Ra, said, "Let them take up the vases and carry them to the
place where the men and women were slaughtered by her." Then the Majesty of the
King of the South and North in the three-fold beauty of the night caused to be poured
out these vases of beer which make [men] to lie down (or, sleep), and the meadows of
the Four Heavens 61 were filled with beer (or, water) by reason of the Souls of the
Majesty of this god. And it came to pass that when this goddess arrived at the dawn of
day, she found these [Heavens] flooded [with beer], and she was pleased thereat; and
she drank [of the beer and blood], and her heart rejoiced, and she became drunk, and
she gave no further attention to men and women. Then said the Majesty of Ra to this
goddess, "Come in peace, come in peace, 0 Amit," 62 and thereupon beautiful women
came into being in the city of Amit (or, Amem). And the Majesty of Ra spake
[concerning] this goddess, [saying], "Let there be made for her vessels of the beer which
produceth sleep at every holy time and season of the year, and they shall be in number
according to the number of my hand-maidens;" and from that early time until now men
have been wont to make on the occasions of the festival of Hathor vessels of the beer
which make them to sleep in number according to the number of the handmaidens of
Ra. And the Majesty of Ra spake unto this goddess, [saying], "I am smitten with the pain
of the fire of sickness; whence cometh to me [this] pain?" And the Majesty of Ra said, "I
live, but my heart hath become exceedingly weary 63 with existence with them (i.e., with
men); I have slain [some of] them, but there is a remnant of worthless ones, for the
destruction which I wrought among them was not as great as my power." Then the gods
who were in his following said unto him, "Be not overcome by thy inactivity, for thy
might is in proportion to thy will." And the Majesty of this god said unto the Majesty of
59 Or, Henen-su, 03n, i.e., Herakleopolis, Magna.
60 I.e., Elephantine, or Syene, a place better known by the Arabic name ASWAN.
61 I.e., the South, North, West, and East of the sky.
62 I.e., "the fair and gracious goddess."
63 Literally, "My heart hath stopped greatly."
56 Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
Nu, "My members are weak for (or, as at) the first time; I will not permit this to come
upon me a second time." And the Majesty of the god Nu said, "0 son Shu, be thou the Eye
'for thy father and avenue (?) him, and 'thou goddess Nut, place him And the
goddess Nut said, How can this be then, "0 my father Nu? "Hail," said Nut to the
god Nu., and the goddess straightway became [a cow], and she set the Majesty of Ra
upon [her] back And when these things had been done, men and women saw the
god Ra, upon the back [of the cow]. Then these men and women said, "Remain with us,
and we will overthrow thine enemies who speak words of blasphemy [against thee.],
and [destroy them]." Then his Majesty [Ra] set out for the Great House, and [the gods
who were in the train of Ra remained] with them (i.e., the men); during that time the
earth was in darkness. And when the earth became light [again]j and the morning had
dawned, the men came forth with their bows and their [weapons], and they set their
arms in motion to shoot the enemies [of Ra]. Then said the Majesty of this god, "Your
"transgressions of violence are placed behind you, for the slaughtering of the enemies is
above the slaughter [of sacrifice];" thus came into being the slaughter [of sacrifice]. And
the Majesty of this god said unto Nut, "I have placed myself upon my back in order to
stretch myself out." What then is the meaning of this? It meaneth that he united (?)
himself with Nut. [Thus came into being] Then said the Majesty of this god, "I am
departing from them (i.e., from men), and he must come after (me who would see me;"
thus came into being Then the Majesty of this god looked forth from its interior,
saying, "Gather together [men for me], and make ready for me an abode for multitudes;"
thus came into being And his Majesty (life, health, and strength be to him!) said,
"Let a great field ( sekhet ) be produced ( hetep ); "thereupon Sekhet-hetep came into
being. [And the god said], "I will gather herbs ( aarat ) therein;" thereupon Sekhet-aaru
came into being. [And the god said], "I will make it to contain as dwellers things ( khet )
like stars of all sorts;" thereupon the stars ( akhekha ) came into being. Then the goddess
Nut trembled because of the height.
And the Majesty of Ra said, "I decree that supports be to bear [the goddess up];"
thereupon the props of heaven (heh) came into being. And the Majesty of Ra said, 0 my
son Shu, I pray thee to set thyself under [my] daughter Nut, and guard thou for me the
supports (heh) of the millions (heh) which are there, and which live in darkness. Take
thou the goddess upon thy head, and act thou as nurse for her;" thereupon came into
being [the custom] of a son nursing a daughter, and [the custom] of a father carrying a
son upon his head.
57 Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
THE LEGEND OF THE DESTRUCTI ON OF MANKI ND
CHAPTER 1 1
II. THIS CHAPTER SHALL BE SAID OVER [A FIGURE OF] THE COW.-The supporters
[called] Heh-enti shall be by her shoulder. The supporters [called] Heh-enti shall be at
her side, and one cubit and four spans of hers shall be in colours, and nine stars shall be
on her belly, and Set shall be by her two thighs and shall keep watch before her two legs,
and before her two legs shall be Shu, under her belly, and he shall be made (i.e., painted)
in green qenat colour. His two arms shall be under the stars, and his name shall be made
(i.e., written) in the middle of them, namely, Shu himself." A boat with a rudder and a
double shrine shall be therein, and Aten (i.e., the Disk) shall be above it, and Ra shall be
in it, in front of Shu, near his hand, or, as another reading hath, behind him, near his
hand. And the udders of the Cow shall be made to be between her legs, towards the left
side. And on the two flanks, towards the middle of the legs, shall be done in writing [the
words], "The exterior heaven," and "I am what is in me," and "I will not permit them to
make her to turn." That which is [written] under the boat which is in front shall read,
"Thou shalt not be motionless, my son;" and the words which are written in an opposite
direction shall read, "Thy support is like life," and "The word is as the word there," and
"Thy son is with me," and "Life, strength, and health be to thy nostrils!" And that which
is behind Shu, near his shoulder, shall read, "They keep ward," and that which is behind
him, written close to his feet in an opposite direction, shall read, "Maat," and "They
come in," and "I protect daily." And that which is under the shoulder of the divine figure
which is under the left leg, and is behind it shall read, "He who sealeth all things." That
which is over his head, under the thighs of the Cow, and that which is by her legs shall
read, "Guardian of his exit." That which is behind the two figures which are by her two
legs, that is to say, over their heads, shall read, "The Aged One who is adored as he goeth
forth," and The Aged One to whom praise is given when he goeth in." That which is over
the head of the two figures, and is between the two thighs of the Cow, shall read,
"Listener," "Hearer," "Sceptre of the Upper Heaven," and "Star" (?).
58 Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
THE LEGEND OF THE DESTRUCTI ON OF MANKI ND
CHAPTER 1 1 1
III. THEN THE MAJESTY OF THIS GOD SPAKE UNTO THOTH, [saying] "Let a call go forth
for me to the Majesty of the god Seb, saying, 'Come, with the utmost speed, at once.'"
And when the Majesty of Seb had come, the Majesty of this god said unto him, "Let war
be made against thy worms (or, serpents) which are in thee; verily, they shall have fear
of me as long as I have being; but thou knowest their magical powers. Do thou go to the
place where my father Nu is, and say thou unto him, 'Keep ward over the worms (or,
serpents) which are in the earth and water. 1 And moreover, thou shalt make a writing
for each of the nests of thy serpents which are there, saying, 'Keep ye guard [lest ye]
cause injury to anything.' They shall know that I am removing myself [from them], but
indeed I shall shine upon them. Since, however, they indeed wish for a father, thou shalt
be a father unto them in this land for ever. Moreover, let good heed be taken to the men
who have my words of power, and to those whose mouths have knowledge of such
things; verily my own words of power are there, verily it shall not happen that any shall
participate with me in my protection, by reason of the majesty which hath come into
being before me. I will decree them to thy son Osiris, and their children shall be watched
over, the hearts of their princes shall be obedient (or, ready) by reason of the magical
powers of those who act according to their desire in all the earth through their words of
power which are in their bodies."
59 Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
THE LEGEND OF THE DESTRUCTI ON OF MANKI ND
IV. AND THE MAJESTY OF THIS GOD SAID, "Call to me the god Thoth," and one brought
the god to him forthwith. And the Majesty of this god said unto Thoth, "Let us depart to
a distance from heaven, from my place, because I would make light and the god of light
(KHU) in the Tuat and [in] the Land of Caves. Thou shalt write down [the things which
are] in it, and thou shalt punish those who are in it, that is to say, the workers who have
worked iniquity (or, rebellion). Through thee I will keep away from the servants whom
this heart [of mine] loatheth. Thou shalt be in my place (ast) ASTI, and thou shalt
therefore be called, 0 Thoth, the 'ASTI of Ra.' Moreover, I give thee power to send ( hab )
forth ; thereupon shall come into being the Ibis ( habi ) bird of Thoth. I moreover
give thee [power] to lift up thine hand before the two Companies of the gods who are
greater than thou, and what thou doest shall be fairer than [the work of] the god KHEN;
therefore shall the divine bird tekni of Thoth come into being. Moreover, I give thee
[Power] to embrace ( anh ) the two heavens with thy beauties, and with thy rays of light;
therefore shall come into being the Moon-god ( Aah ) of Thoth. Moreover, I give thee
[power] to drive back ( anan ) the Ha-nebu; 64 therefore shall come into being the dog-
headed Ape (anan) of Thoth, and he shall act as governor for me. Moreover, thou art
now in my place in the sight of all those who see thee and who present offerings to thee,
and every being shall ascribe praise unto thee, 0 thou who art God."
I.e., the "North-lords," that is to say, the peoples who lived in the extreme north of the Delta, and on its sea-
coasts, and perhaps in the Islands of the Mediterranean.
60 Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
THE LEGEND OF THE DESTRUCTI ON OF MANKI ND
V. WHOSOEVER SHALL RECITE the words of this composition over himself shall anoint
himself with olive oil and with thick unguent, and he shall have propitiatory offerings on
both his hands of incense, and behind his two ears shall be pure natron, and sweet-
smelling salve shall be on his lips. He shall be arrayed in a new double tunic, and his
body shall be purified with the water of the nile-flood, and he shall have upon his feet a
pair of sandals made of white [leather], and a figure of the goddess Maat shall be drawn
upon his tongue with green-coloured ochre. Whensoever Thoth shall wish to recite this
composition on behalf of Ra, he must perform a sevenfold (?) purification for three days,
and priests and [ordinary] men shall do likewise. Whosoever shall recite the above
words shall perform the ceremonies which are to be performed when this book is being
read. And he shall make his place of standing (?) in a circle (or, at an angle) which
is beyond [him], and his two eyes shall be fixed upon himself, all his members shall be
[composed], and his steps shall not carry him away [from the place]. Whosoever among
men shall recite [these] words shall be like Ra on the day of his birth; and his
possessions shall not become fewer, and his house shall never fall into decay, but shall
endure for a million eternities.
Then the Aged One himself (i.e., Ra) embraced (?) the god Nu, and spake unto the gods
who came forth in the east of the sky, "Ascribe ye praise to the god, the Aged One, from
whom I have come into being. 1 am he who made the heavens, and I (set in order [the
earth, and created the gods, and] I was with them for an exceedingly long period; then
was born the year and but my soul is older than it (i.e., time). It is the Soul of Shu,
it is the Soul of Khnemu (?), 65 it is the Soul of Heh, it is the Soul of Kek and Kerh (i.e.,
Night and Darkness), it is the Soul of Nu and of Ra, it is the Soul of Osiris, the lord of
Tettu, it is the Soul of the Sebak Crocodile-gods and of the Crocodiles, it is the Soul of
every god [who dwelleth] in the divine Snakes, it is the Soul of Apep in Mount Bakhau
(i.e., the Mount of Sunrise), and it is the Soul of Ra which pervadeth the whole world."
Whosoever sayeth [these words] worketh his own protection by means of the words of
power, "I am the god Hekau (i.e., the divine Word of power), and [I am] pure in my
mouth, and [in] my belly; [I am] Ra from whom the gods proceeded. I am Ra, the Light-
god (Khu)." When thou sayest [this], stop forth in the evening and in the morning on
thine own behalf if thou wouldst make to fall the enemies of Ra. I am his Soul, and I am
Hail, thou lord of eternity, thou creator of everlastingness, who bringest to nought the
gods who came forth from Ra, thou lord of thy god, thou prince who didst make what
made thee, who art beloved by the fathers of the gods, on whose head are the pure
words of power, who didst create the woman ( erpit ) that standeth on the south side of
65 There are mistakes in the text here.
61 Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
thee, who didst create the goddess who hath her face on her breast, and the serpent
which standeth on his tail, with her eye on his belly, and with his tail on the earth, to
whom Thoth giveth praises, and upon whom the heavens rest, and to whom Shu
stretcheth out his two hands, deliver thou me from those two great gods who sit in the
east of the sky, who act as wardens of heaven and as wardens of earth, and who make
firm the secret places, and who are called "Aaiu-su," and "Per-f-er-maa-Nu." Moreover
[there shall be) a purifying on the day of the month even according to the
performance of the ceremonies in the oldest time.
Whosoever shall recite this Chapter shall have life in Neter-kher (i.e., Underworld), and
the fear of him shall be much greater than it was formerly [upon earth] and they
shall say, "Thy names are 'Eternity' and 'Everlastingness.'" They are called, they are
called, "Au-peh-nef-n-aa-em-ta-uat-apu," and "Rekh-kua-[tut]-en-neter-pui- en en-
hra-f-Her-shefu." I am he who hath strengthened the boat with the company of the gods,
and his Shenit, and his Gods, by means of words of power.
62 Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
THE LEGEND OF RA AND I SI S
THE CHAPTER of the divine (or, mighty) god, who created himself, who made the
heavens and the earth, and the breath of life, and fire, and the gods, and men, and beasts,
and cattle, and reptiles, and the fowl of the air, and the fish, who is the king of men and
gods, [who existeth] in one Form, [to whom] periods of one hundred and twenty years
axe as single years, whose names by reason of their multitude are unknowable, for
[even] the gods know them not. Behold, the goddess Isis lived in the form, of a woman,
who had the knowledge of words [of power]. Her heart turned away in disgust from the
millions of men, and she chose for herself the millions of the gods, but esteemed more
highly the millions of the spirits. Was it not possible to become even as was Ra in
heaven and upon earth, and to make [herself] mistress of the earth, and a [mighty]
goddess--thus she meditated in her heart--by the knowledge of the Name of the holy
god? Behold, Ra entered [heaven] each day at the head of his mariners, establishing
himself upon the double throne of the two horizons. Now the divine one had become
old, he dribbled at the mouth, and he let his emissions go forth from him upon the earth,
and his spittle fell upon the ground. This Isis kneaded in her hand, 66 with [some] dust,
and she fashioned it in the form of a sacred serpent, and made it to have the form of a
dart, so that none might be able to escape alive from it, and she left it lying upon the
road whereon the great god travelled, according to his desire, about the two lands. Then
the holy god rose up in the tabernacle of the gods in the great double house (life,
strength, health!) among those who were in his train, and [as] he journeyed on his way
according to his daily wont, the holy serpent shot its fang into him, and the living fire
was departing from the god's own body, and the reptile destroyed the dweller among
the cedars. And the mighty god opened his mouth, and the cry of His Majesty (life,
strength, health!) reached unto the heavens, and the company of the gods said, "What is
it?" and his gods said, "What is the matter?" And the god found [no words] wherewith to
answer concerning himself. His jaws shook, his lips trembled, and the poison took
possession of all his flesh just as Hapi (i.e., the Nile) taketh possession of the land
through which he floweth. Then the great god made firm his heart (i.e., took courage)
and he cried out to those who were in his following:--"Come ye unto me, 0 ye who have
come into being from my members, 67 ye gods who have proceeded from me, for I would
make you to know what hath happened. I have been smitten by some deadly thing, of
which my heart hath no knowledge, and which I have neither seen with my eyes nor
made with my hand; and I have no knowledge at all who hath done this to me. I have
never before felt any pain like unto it, and no pain can be worse than this [is]. I am a
Prince, the son of a Prince, and the divine emanation which was produced from a god. I
am a Great One, the son of a Great One, and my father hath determined for me my name.
66 Here we have another instance of the important part which the spittle played in magical ceremonies that
were intended to produce evil effects. The act of spitting, however, was intended sometimes to carry a curse
with it, and sometimes a blessing, for a man spat in the face of his enemy in order to lay the curse of impurity
upon him, and at the present time, men spit upon money to keep the devils away from it.
67 The gods were, according to one belief, nothing more than the various names of Ra, who had taken the
forms of the various members of his body.
63 Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
I have multitudes of names, and I have multitudes of forms, and my being existeth in
every god. I have been invoked (or, proclaimed?) by Temu and Heru-Hekennu. My
father and my mother uttered my name, and [they] hid it in my body at my birth so that
none of those who would use against me words of power might succeed in making their
enchantments have dominion over me. 68 I had come forth from my tabernacle to look
upon that which I had made, and was making my way through the two lands which I had
made, when a blow was aimed at me, but I know not of what kind. Behold, is it fire?
Behold, is it water? My heart is full of burning fire, my limbs are shivering, and my
members have darting pains in them. Let there be brought unto me my children the
gods, who possess words of magic, whose mouths are cunning [in uttering them], and
whose powers reach up to heaven." Then his children came unto him, and every god
was there with his cry of lamentation; and Isis 69 came with her words of magic, and the
place of her mouth [was filled with] the breath of life, for the words which she putteth
together destroy diseases, and her words make to live those whose throats are choked
(i.e., the dead). And she said, "What is this, 0 divine father? What is it? Hath a serpent
shot his venom into thee? Hath a thing which thou hast fashioned lifted up its head
against thee? Verily it shall be overthrown by beneficent words of power, and I will
make it to retreat in the sight of thy rays." The holy god opened his mouth, [saying], I
was going along the road and passing through the two lands of my country, for my heart
wished to look upon what I had made, when I was bitten by a serpent which I did not
see; behold, is it fire? Behold, is it water? I am colder than water, I am hotter than fire,
all my members sweat, I myself quake, mine eye is unsteady. I cannot look at the
heavens, and water forceth itself on my face as in the time of the Inundation." 70 And Isis
said unto Ra, "0 my divine father, tell me thy name, for he who is able to pronounce his
name liveth." [And Ra said], "I am the maker of the heavens and the earth, I have knit
together the mountains, and I have created everything which existeth upon them. I am
the maker of the Waters, and I have made Meht-ur to come into being; I have made the
Bull of his Mother, and I have made the joys of love to exist. I am the maker of heaven,
and I have made to be hidden the two gods of the horizon, and I have placed the souls of
the gods within them. I am the Being who openeth his eyes and the light cometh; I am
the Being who shutteth his eyes and there is darkness. I am the Being who giveth the
command, and the waters of Hapi (the Nile) burst forth, I am the Being whose name the
gods know not. I am the maker of the hours and the creator of the days. I am the opener
(i.e., inaugurator) of the festivals, and the maker of the floods of water. I am the creator
of the fire of life whereby the works of the houses are caused to come into being. I am
Khepera in the morning, and Ra (at the time of his culmination (i.e., noon), and Temu in
68 Thus the god's own name became his most important talisman.
69 The position of Isis as the "great enchantress" is well defined, and several instances of her magical powers
are recorded. By the utterance of her words of power she succeeded in raising her dead husband Osiris to life,
and she enabled him by their means to beget Horus of her. Nothing could withstand them, because they were
of divine origin, and she had learned them from Thoth, the intelligence of the greatest of the gods.
70 Or, "the period of the summer." The season Shemmu, began soon after the beginning of April and lasted
until nearly the end of July.
Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
the evening." 71 Nevertheless the poison was not driven from its course, and the great
god felt no better. Then Isis said unto Ra, "Among the things which thou hast said unto
me thy name hath not been mentioned. 0 declare thou it unto me, and the poison shall
come forth; for the person who hath declared his name shall live." Meanwhile the
poison burned with blazing fire and the heat thereof was stronger than that of a blazing
flame. Then, the Majesty of Ra, said, "I will allow myself to be searched through by Isis,
and my name shall come forth from my body and go into hers." Then the divine one hid
himself from the gods, and the throne in the Boat of Millions of Years 72 was empty. And
it came to pass that when it was the time for the heart to come forth [from the god], she
said unto her son Horus, "The great god shall bind himself by an oath to give his two
eyes." 73 Thus was the great god made to yield up his name, and Isis, the great lady of
enchantments, said, "Flow on, poison, and come forth from Ra; let the Eye of Horus
come forth from the god and shine(?) outside his mouth. I have worked, and I make the
poison to fall on the ground, for the venom hath been mastered. Verily the name hath
been taken away from the great god. Let Ra live, and let the poison die; and if the poison
live then Ra shall die. And similarly, a certain man, the son of a certain man, shall live
and the poison shall die." These were the words which spake Isis, the great lady, the
mistress of the gods, and she had knowledge of Ra in his own name. The above words
shall be said over an image of Temu and an image of Heru-Hekennu, 74 and over an
image of Isis and an image of Horus.
71 Khepera, Rd, and Temu were the three principal forms of the Sun-god according to the theological system of
the priests of Heliopolis.
72 The name by which the Boat of Ra is generally known in Egyptian texts. It was this boat which was stopped
in its course when Thoth descended from the sky to impart to Isis the words of power that were to raise her
dead child Horus to life.
of the moon. The sun and the moon were the
l.e., the of the sun, and the
visible, material symbols of the Sun god.
74 The attributes of this god are not well defined. He was a god of the Eastern Delta, and was associated with
the cities where Temu was worshipped.
65 Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
THE LEGEND OF HORUS OF BEHUTET AND THE Wl NGED
XII 2. In the three hundred and sixty-third year of Ra-Heru-Khuti, who liveth for ever
and forever, His Majesty was in TA-KENS, 75 and his soldiers were with him; [the
enemy] did not conspire ( auu ) against their lord, and the land [is called] UAUATET unto
this day. 3. And Ra set out on an expedition in his boat, and his followers were with him,
and he arrived at UTHES-HERU, 76 [which lay to] the west of this nome, and to the east
of the canal PAKHENNU, which is called [ to this day]. And Heru-Behutet
was 4 in the boat of Ra, and he said unto his father Ra-Heru-Khuti (i.e., Ra-Harmachis), I
see that the enemies are conspiring against their lord; let thy fiery serpent gain the
mastery over them." XIII. 1. Then the Majesty of Ra Harmachis said unto thy divine
KA, 0 Heru-Behutet, 0 son of Ra, thou exalted one, who didst proceed from me,
overthrow thou the enemies who are before thee straightway." And Heru-Behutet flew
up into the horizon in the form of the great Winged Disk, for which reason he is called
"Great god, lord of heaven," unto this day. And when he saw the enemies in the heights
of heaven he set out to follow after them in the form of the great Winged Disk, and he
attacked with such terrific force those who opposed him, 2 that they could neither see
with their eyes nor hear with their ears, and each of them slew his fellow. In a moment
of time there was not a single creature left alive. Then Heru Behutet, shining with very
many colours, came in the form of the great Winged Disk to the Boat of Ra-Harmachis,
and Thoth said unto Ra, "0 Lord of the gods, Behutet hath returned in the form of the
great Winged Disk, shining [with many colours] children;" 3 for this reason he is
called Heru-Behutet unto this day. And Thoth said, "The city Teb shall be called the city
of Heru-Behutet," and thus is it called unto this day. And Ra embraced the of Ra,
and said unto Heru-Behutet, "Thou didst put grapes 77 into the water which cometh
forth from it, 78 and thy heart rejoiced thereat;" and for this reason the water (or, canal)
of Heru-Behutet is called "[Grape-Water]" unto this day, and the unto this
day. 4. And Heru-Behutet said, "Advance, 0 Ra, and look thou upon thine enemies who
are lying under thee on this land;" thereupon the Majesty of Ra set out on the way, and
the goddess ASTHERTET ('Ashtoreth?) was with him, and he saw the enemies
overthrown on the ground, each one of them being fettered. Then said Ra to Heru-
Behutet, 5 "There is sweet life in this place," and for this reason the abode of the palace
of Heru-Behutet is called "Sweet Life" unto this day. And Ra, said unto Thoth, "[Here was
the slaughter] of mine enemies; "and the place is called TEB 79 unto this day. And Thoth
said unto Heru-Behutet, "Thou art a great protector ( makaa );" and 6 the Boat of Heru-
l.e., in Nubia, probably the portion of it which lies round about the modern Kalabsha. In ancient days Ta-kens
appears to have included a portion of the Nile Valley to the north of Aswan.
76 I.e., Apollinopolis, the modern Edfu.
77 I.e. drops of blood.
78 I.e., from the city.
79 I.e., Edfu.
Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
Behutet is called MAKAA 80 unto this day. Then said Ra unto the gods who were in his
following, "Behold now, let us sail in our boat upon the water, for our hearts are glad
because our enemies have been overthrown on the earth;" and the water where the
great god sailed is 7 called P-KHEN-UR 81 unto this day. And behold the enemies [of Ra]
rushed into the water, and they took the forms of [crocodiles and] hippopotami, but
nevertheless Ra-Heru-Khuti sailed over the waters in his boat, and when the crocodiles
and the hippopotami had come nigh unto him, they opened wide their jaws in order to
destroy Ra-Heru-Khuti. 8. And when Heru-Behutet arrived and his followers who were
behind him in the forms of workers in metal, each having in his hands an iron spear and
a chain, according to his name, they smote the crocodiles and the hippopotami; and
there were brought in there straightway six hundred and fifty-one crocodiles, 9 which
had been slain before the city of Edfu. Then spake Ra-Harmachis unto Heru-Behutet,
"My Image shall be [here] in the land of the South, (which is a house of victory (or,
strength); "and the House of Heru-Behutet is called NEKHT-HET unto this day. XIV. 1.
Then the god Thoth spake, after he had looked upon the enemies lying upon the ground,
saying, "Let your hearts rejoice, 0 ye gods of heaven! Let your hearts rejoice, 0 ye gods
who are in the earth! Horus, the Youthful One, cometh in peace, and he hath made
manifest on his journey deeds of very great might, which he hath performed according
to "the Book of Slaying the Hippopotamus." And from that day figures of Heru-Behutet
in metal have existed.
Then Heru-Behutet took upon himself the form of the Winged Disk, and he placed
himself upon the front of the Boat of Ea. 2 . And he placed by his side the goddess
Nekhebet 82 and the goddess Uatchet, 83 in the form of two serpents, that they might
make the enemies to quake in [all] their limbs when they were in the forms of
crocodiles and hippopotami in every place wherein be came in the Land of the South
and in the Land of the North. Then those enemies rose up to make their escape from
before him, and their face was towards the Land of the South. And their hearts were
stricken down through fear of him. And Heru-Behutet was at the back (or, side) of them
in the Boat of Ra, and there were in his hands a metal lance and a metal chain; and the
metal workers who were with their lord were equipped 3 for fighting with lances and
chains. And Heru-Behutet saw them 84 to the south-east of the city of Uast (Thebes)
some distance away. Then Ra said to Thoth, "Those enemies shall be smitten with blows
that kill;" and Thoth said to Ra, "[That place] is called the city TCHET-MET unto this
day." And Heru-Behutet made a great overthrow among them, and Ra said, "Stand still,
0 Heru-Behutet," and [that place] is called "HET-RA" to this day, and the god who
dwelleth therein is Heru-Behutet-Ra-Amsu (or, Min). 4. Then those enemies rose up to
make their escape from before him, and the face of the god was towards the Land of the
80 l.e., Great Protector.
81 l.e., "Great Canal."
82 The goddess Nekhebet was incarnate in a special kind of serpent, and the centre of her worship was in the
city of Nekheb, which the Greeks called Eileithyiaspolis, and the Arabs Al-Kab.
83 The centre of the worship of Uatchet, or Uatchit, was at Per-Uatchet, a city in the Delta.
84 l.e., the enemies.
Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
North, and their hearts were stricken through fear of him. And Heru-Behutet was at the
back (or, side) of them in the Boat of Ra, and those who were following him had spears
of metal and chains of metal in their hands; 5 and the god himself was equipped for
battle with the weapons of the metal workers which they had with them. And he passed
a whole day before he saw them to the north-east of the nome of TENTYRA (Dendera).
Then Ra said unto Thoth, "The enemies are resting their lord." 6. And the Majesty
of Ra-Harmachis said to Heru-Behutet, "Thou art my exalted son who didst proceed
from Nut. The courage of the (enemies hath failed in a moment." And Heru-Behutet
made great slaughter among them. And Thoth said "The Winged Disk shall be called
in the name of this Aat;" 7 and is called Heru-Behutet its mistress. His name is to
the South in the name of this god, and the acacia and the sycamore shall be the trees of
the sanctuary. Then the enemies turned aside to flee from before him, and their faces
were [towards the North, and they went] to 8 the swamps of Uatch-ur (i.e., the
Mediterranean), and [their courage failed through fear of him]. And Heru-Behutet was
at the back (or, side) of them in the Boat of Ra, and the metal spear was in his hands, and
those who were in his following were equipped with the weapons for battle of the metal
workers. 9. And the god spent four days and four nights in the water in pursuit of them,
but he did not see one of the enemies, who fled from before him in the water in the
forms of crocodiles and hippopotami. At length he found them and saw them. And Ra
said unto Horus of Heben, "0 Winged Disk, thou great god and lord of heaven, 10 seize
thou them and he hurled his lance after them, and he slew them, and worked a
great overthrow of them. And he brought one hundred and forty-two enemies to the
forepart of the Boat [of Ra], and with them was a male hippopotamusll which had been
among those enemies. And he hacked them in pieces with his knife, and he gave their
entrails to those who were in his following, and he gave their carcases to the gods and
goddesses who were in the Boat of Ra on the river-bank of the city of Heben. Then Ra
said unto Thoth, 12 "See what mighty things Heru-Behutet hath performed in his deeds
against the enemies: verily he hath smitten them! And of the male hippopotamus he
hath opened the mouth, and he hath speared it, and he hath mounted upon its back."
Then said Thoth to Ra," Horus shall be called 'Winged Disk, Great God, 13 Smiter of the
enemies in the town of Heben' from this day forward, and he shall be called 'He who
standeth on the back' and 'prophet of this god,' from this day forward." These are the
things which happened in the lands of the city of Heben, in a region which measured
three hundred and forty-two measures on the south, and on the north, on the west, and
on the east.
XV. 1. Then the enemies rose up before him by the Lake of the North, and their faces
were set towards Uatch-ur 85 which they desired to reach by sailing; but the god smote
their hearts and they turned and fled in the water, and they directed their course to the
water of the nome of Mertet- Ament, and they gathered themselves together in the water
of Mertet in order to join themselves with the enemies [who serve] Set and who are in
this region. And Heru-Behutet followed them, being equipped with all his weapons of
85 I.e., the Mediterranean.
68 Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
war to fight against them. 2. And Heru-Behutet made a journey in the Boat of Ra,
together with the great god who was in his boat with those who were his followers, and
he pursued them on the Lake of the North twice, and passed one day and one night
sailing down the river in pursuit of them before he perceived and overtook them, for he
knew not the place where they were. Then he arrived at the city of Per-Rehu. And the
Majesty of Ra said unto Heru-Behutet, "What hath happened to the enemies? They have
gathered together themselves in the water to the west (?) of the nome of Mertet in order
to unite themselves with the enemies [who serve] Set, and who are in this region, 3 at
the place where are our staff and sceptre." And Thoth said unto Ra, "Uast in the nome of
Mertet is called Uaseb because of this unto this day, and the Lake which is in it is called
TEMPT." Then Heru-Behutet spake in the presence of his father Ra, saying, "1 beseech
thee to set thy boat against them, so that I may be able to perform against them that
which Ra willeth;" and this was done. Then he made an attack upon them on the Lake
which was at the west of this district, and he perceived them on the bank of the city
. which belongeth to the Lake of Mertet. 4. Then Heru-Behutet made an expedition
against them, and his followers were with him, and they were provided with weapons of
all kinds for battle, and he wrought a great overthrow among them, and he brought in
three hundred and eighty-one enemies, and he slaughtered them in the forepart of the
Boat of Ra, 5 and he gave one of them to each of those who were in his train. Then Set
rose up and came forth, and raged loudly with words of cursing and abuse because of
the things which Heru-behutet had done in respect of the slaughter of the enemies. And
Ra said unto Thoth, "This fiend Nehaha-hra uttereth words at the top of his voice
because of the things which 6 Heru-Behutet hath done unto him;" and Thoth said unto
Ra, "Cries of this kind shall be called Nehaha-hra unto this day." And Heru-Behutet did
battle with the Enemy for a period of time, and he hurled his iron lance at him, and he
throw him down on the ground in this region, 7 which is called Pa-Rerehtu unto this
day. Then Heru-Behutet came and brought the Enemy with him, and his spear was in his
neck, and his chain was round his hands and arms, and the weapon of Horus had fallen
on his mouth and had closed it; and he went with him before his father Ra, who said, "0
Horus, thou Winged Disk, 8 twice great (Urui-Tenten) is the deed of valour which thou
hast done, and thou hast cleansed the district." And Ra, said unto Thoth, "The palace of
Heru-Behutet shall be called, 'Lord of the district which is cleansed' because of this;"
and [thus is it called] unto this day. And the name of the priest thereof is called Ur-
Tenten unto this day. 9. And Ra said unto Thoth, "Let the enemies and Set be given over
to Isis and her son Horus, and let them work all their heart's desire upon them." And she
and her son Horus set themselves in position with their spears in him at the time when
there was storm (or, disaster) in the district, and the Lake of the god was 10 called SHE-
EN-AHA from that day to this. Then Horus the son of Isis cut off the head of the Enemy
[Set], and the heads of his fiends in the presence of father Ra and of the great company
of the gods, and he dragged him by his feet through his district with his spear driven
through his head and back. And Ra said unto Thoth, 11 "Let the son of Osiris drag the
being of disaster through his territory;" and Thoth said, "It shall be called ATEH," and
this hath been the name of the region from that day to this. And Isis, the divine lady,
69 Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
spake before Ra, saying, "Let the exalted Winged Disk become the amulet of my son
Horus, who hath cut off the head of the Enemy and the heads of his fiends."
XVI. 1 . Thus Heru-Behutet and Horus, the son of Isis, slaughtered that evil Enemy, and
his fiends, and the inert foes, and came forth with them to the water on the west side of
this district. And Heru-Behutet was in the form of a man of mighty strength, and he had
the face of a hawk, and his head was crowned with the White Crown and the Red Crown,
and with two plumes and two uraei, and he had the back of a hawk, and his spear and
his chain were in his hands. And Horus, the son of Isis, transformed himself into a
similar shape, even as Heru-Behutet had done before him. 2. And they slew the enemies
all together on the west of Per-Rehu, on the edge of the stream, and this god hath sailed
over the water wherein the enemies had banded themselves to-ether against him from
that day to this. Now these things took place on the 7th day of the first mouth of the
season PERT. And Thoth said, "This region shall be called AAT-SHATET," and this hath
been the name of the region from that day unto this; and the Lake which is close by
it 3 hath been called TEMT from that day to this, and the 7th day of the first month of
the season PERT hath been called the FESTIVAL OF SAILING from that day to this.
Then Set took upon himself the form of a hissing serpent, and he entered into the earth
in this district without being seen. And Ra said, "Set hath taken upon himself the form of
a hissing serpent. Let Horus, the son of Isis, in the form of a hawk-headed staff, set
himself over the place where he is, so that the serpent may never more appear." 4. And
Thoth said, "Let this district be called HEMHEMET 86 by name;" and thus hath it been
called from that day to this. And Horus, the son of Isis, in the form of a hawk-headed
staff, took up his abode there with his mother Isis; in this manner did these things
Then the Boat of Ra arrived at the town of Het-Aha; 5 its forepart was made of palm
wood, and the hind part was made of acacia wood; thus the palm tree and the acacia
tree have been sacred trees from that day to this. Then Heru-Behutet embarked in the
Boat of Ra, after he had made an end of fighting, and sailed; and Ra said unto Thoth, "Let
this Boat be called ;" and thus hath it been called from that day to this, 6 and
these things have been done in commemoration in this place from that day to this.
And Ra said unto Heru-Behutet, "Behold the fighting of the Smait fiend and his two-fold
strength, and the Smai fiend Set, are upon the water of the North, and they will sail
down stream upon " [And] Heru-Behutet said, "Whatsoever thou commandest
shall take place, 7 0 Ra, Lord of the gods. Grant thou, however, that this thy Boat may
pursue them into every place whithersoever they shall go, and I will do to them
whatsoever pleaseth Ra." And everything was done according to what he had said. Then
this Boat of Ra was brought by the winged Sun-disk upon the waters of the Lake of
86 This name means "the place of the Roarer," HEMHEMTI, being a well-known name of the Evil One. Some
texts seem to indicate that peals of thunder were caused by the fiend Set.
Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
Meh, 87 [and] Heru-Behutet took in his hands his weapons, his darts, and his harpoon,
and all the chains [which he required] for the fight.
8. And Heru-Behutet looked and saw one [only] of these Sebau 88 fiends there on the
spot, and he was by himself. And he threw one metal dart, and brought (or, dragged)
them along straightway, and he slaughtered them in the presence of Ra. And he made an
end [of them, and there were no more of the fiends] of Set in this place at [that] moment.
XVII 1 . And Thoth said, "This place shall be called AST-AB-HERU," 89 because Heru-
Behutet wrought his desire upon them (i.e., the enemy); and he passed six days and six
nights coming into port on the waters thereof and did not see one of them. And he saw
them fall down in the watery depths, and he made ready the place of Ast-ab-Heru there.
It was situated on the bank of the water, and the face (i.e., direction) thereof was full-
front towards the South. 2. And all the rites and ceremonies of Heru-Behutet were
performed on the first day of the first month 90 of the season Akhet, and on the first day
of the first month 91 of the season Pert, and on the twenty-first and twenty-fourth days
of the second month 92 of the season Pert. These are the festivals in the town of Ast-ab,
by the side of the South, in An-rut-f. 93 And he came into port and went against them,
keeping watch as for a king over the Great God in An-rut-f, in this place, in order to drive
away the Enemy and his Smaiu fiends at his coming by night from the region of Mertet,
to the west of this place. 3.
And Heru-Behutet was in the form of a man who possessed great strength, with the face
of a hawk; and he was crowned with the White Crown, 94 and the Red Crown, 95 and the
two plumes, and the Urerit Crown, and there were two uraei upon his head. His hand
grasped firmly his harpoon to slay the hippopotamus, which was [as hard] as
the khenem 96 stone in its mountain bed.
And Ra said unto Thoth, "Indeed [Heru-]Behutet is like a Master-fighter in the slaughter
of his enemies "
And Thoth said unto Ra, "He shall be called 'Neb-Ahau'" (i.e., Master-fighter); and for
this reason he hath been thus called by the priest of this god unto this day.
It is probable that the Lake of Meh, i.e., the Lake of the North, was situated in the north-east of the Delta,
not far from Lake Manzalah.
88 "Sebiu" is a common name for the associates of Seti, and this fiend is himself called "Seba," a word which
means something like "rebel."
89 I.e., place of the desire of Horus.
90 The month Thoth.
91 The month Tybi.
92 The month Mekhir.
93 A mythological locality originally placed near Herakleopolis. The name means "the place where nothing
grows." Several forms of the name occur in the older literature, e.g. in the Theban
Recension of the Book of the Dead.
94 The Crown of the South.
95 The Crown of the North.
96 A kind of jasper (?).
Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
4. And Isis made incantations of every kind in order to drive away the fiend Ra from An-
rut-f, and from the Great God in this place. And Thoth said [unto Ra], 'The priestess of
this god shall be called by the name of 'Nebt-Heka' for this reason."
And Thoth said unto Ra, "Beautiful, beautiful is this place wherein thou hast taken up
thy seat, keeping watch, as for a king, over the Great God who is in An-rut-f 97 in peace."
5. And Thoth said, "This Great House in this place shall, therefore be called 'Ast-
Nefert' 98 from this day. "It is situated to the south-west of the city of Nart, and
[covereth] a space of four schoinoi." And Ra Heru-Behutet said unto Thoth, "Hast thou
not searched through this water for the enemy?" And Thoth said, 6 "The water of the
God-house in this place shall be called by the name of 'Heh' (i.e., sought out)." And Ra
said, "Thy ship, 0 Heru-Behutet, is great (?) upon Ant-mer (?) And Thoth said,
"The name of [thy ship] shall be called 'Ur', and this stream shall be called 'Ant-mer
(?).'" 7. As concerning (or, now) the place Ab-Bat (?) is situated on the shore of the
water. "Ast-nefert" is the name of the Great house, "Neb-Aha" [is the name of] the priest
is the name of the priestess, "Heh" is the name of the lake [is the name] of
the water, 8 "Am-her-net" is the name of the holy (?) acacia tree, "Neter het" is the name
of the domain of the god, "Uru" is the name of the sacred boat, the gods therein are
Heru-Behutet, the smiter of the lands, Horus, the son of Isis [and] Osiris 9 his
blacksmiths 99 are to him, and those who are in his following are to him in his territory,
with his metal lance, with his [mace], with his dagger, and with all his chains (or, fetters)
which are in the city of Heru-Behutet.
[And when he had reached the land of the North with his followers, he found the
enemy.] 10. Now as for the blacksmiths who were over the middle regions, they made a
great slaughter of the enemy, and there were brought back one hundred and six of them.
Now as for the blacksmiths of the West, they brought back one hundred and six of the
enemy. Now as for the blacksmiths of the East, among whom was Heru-Behutet, 11 he
slew them (i.e., the enemy) in the presence of Ra. in the Middle Domains. 100
And Ra, said unto Thoth, "My heart [is satisfied] with the works of these blacksmiths of
Heru-Behutet who are in his bodyguard. They shall dwell in sanctuaries, and libations
and purifications and (offerings shall be made to their images, and 12 [there shall be
appointed for them] priests who shall minister by the month, and priests who shall
minister by the hour, in all their God-houses whatsoever, as their reward because they
have slain the enemies of the god."
98 I.e., "Beautiful Place."
99 Or perhaps fighting men who were armed with metal weapons.
100 In the sculptures (Naville, Mythe, pi. 17) Heru-Behutet is seen standing in a boat spearing a crocodile, and
immediately behind d him in the boat is Ra-Harmachis in his shrine. The Mesentiu of the West are represented
by an armed warrior in a boat, who is spearing a crocodile, and leads the way for Heru-Behutet. In a boat
behind the great god is a representative of the Mesentiu of the East spearing a crocodile.
72 Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
And Thoth said, "The [Middle] Domains shall be called after the names of these
blacksmiths from this day onwards, 13 and the god who dwelleth among them, Heru-
Behutet, shall be called the 'Lord of Mesent' from this day onwards, and the domain
shall be called 'Mesent of the West' from this day onwards."
As concerning Mesent of the West, the face (or, front) thereof shall be towards [the
East], towards the place where Ra riseth, and this Mesent shall be called "Mesent of the
East" from this day onwards. 14. As concerning the double town of Mesent, the work of
these blacksmiths of the East, the face (or, front) thereof shall be towards the South,
towards the city of Behutet, the hiding-place of Heru-Behutet. And there shall be
performed therein all the rites and ceremonies of Heru-Behutet on the second day of the
first month 101 of the season of Akhet, and on the twenty-fourth day of the fourth
month 102 of the season of Akhet, and on the seventh day of the first month 3 103 of the
season Pert, and on the twenty-first day of the second month 104 of the season Pert, from
this day onwards. 15. Their stream shall be called "Asti," the name of their Great House
shall be called "Abet," the [priest (?)] shall be called "Qen-aha," and their domain shall
be called "Kau-Mesent" from this day onwards.
XVIII. 1. And Ra said unto Heru-Behutet, "These enemies have sailed up the river, to the
country of Setet, to the end of the pillar-house of Hat, and they have sailed up the river
to the east, to the country or Tchalt (or, Tchart), 105 which is their region of swamps."
And Heru-Behutet said, "Everything which thou hast commanded hath come to pass, Ra,
Lord of the (gods; thou art the lord of commands." And they untied the Boat of Ra, and
they sailed up the river to the east. Then he looked upon those enemies whereof some of
them had fallen into the sea (or, river), and the others had fallen headlong on the
And Heru-Behutet transformed himself into a lion which had the face of a man, and
which was crowned with the triple crown. 106 His paw was like unto a flint knife, and he
went round and round by the side of them, and brought back one hundred and forty-
two [of the enemy], and be rent them in pieces with his claws. He tore out their tongues,
and their blood flowed on the ridges of the land in this place; and he made them the
property of those who were in his following [whilst] he was upon the mountains.
And Ra said unto Thoth, "Behold, Heru-Behutet is like unto a lion in his lair [when] he is
on the back of the enemy who have given unto him their tongues."
3. And Thoth said, "This domain shall be called 'Khent-abt,' and it shall [also] be called
'Tchalt' (or, Tchart) from this day onwards. And the bringing of the tongues from the
101 The month Thoth.
102 The month Choiak.
103 The month Tybi.
104 The mouth Mechir.
106 In the sculpture (Naville, Mythe, pi. 18), we see a representation of this lion, which is standing over the
bodies of slain enemies upon a rectangular pedestal, or block.
Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
remote places of Tchalt (or, Tchart) [shall be commemorated] from this day onwards.
And this god shall be called 'Heru-Behutet, Lord of Mesent,' from this day onwards."
And Ra said unto Heru-Behutet, "Let us sail to the south up the river, and let us smite
the enemies [who are] in the forms of crocodiles and hippopotami in the face of Egypt."
4. And Heru-Behutet said, "Thy divine KA, 0 Ra, Lord of the gods! Let us sail up the river
against the remainder-one third-of the enemies who are in the water (or, river)." Then
Thoth recited the Chapters of protecting the Boat [of Ra] and the boats of the
blacksmiths, 5 [which he used] for making tranquil the sea at the moment when a storm
was raging on it.
And Ra said unto Thoth, "Have we not journeyed throughout the whole land? Shall we
not journey cover the whole sea in like manner?" And Thoth said, "This water shall be
called the 'Sea of journeying,' from this day onward."
And they sailed about over the water during the night, 6 and they did not see any of
those enemies at all.
Then they made a journey forth and arrived in the country of Ta-sti, 107 at the town of
Shas-hertet, and he perceived the most able of their enemies in the country of
Uaua, 108 and they were uttering treason against Horus their Lord.
7 And Heru-Behut changed his form into that of the Winged Disk, [and took his place]
above the bow of the Boat of Ra. And he made the goddess Nekhebit 109 and the goddess
Uatchit 110 to be with him in the form of serpents, so that they might make the Sebau
fiends to quake in [all] their limbs (or, bodies). Their boldness (i.e., that of the fiends)
subsided through the fear of him, they made no resistance whatsoever, and they died
8 Then the gods who were in the following of the Boat of Heru-khuti said, "Great, great
is that which he hath done among them by means of the two Serpent Goddesses, 111 for
he hath overthrown the enemy by means of their fear of him."
And Ra Heru-khuti said, "The great one of the two Serpent Goddesses of Heru-Behutet
shall be called 'Ur-Uatchti' 112 from this day onwards."
XIX. 1. And Heru-khuti travelled on in his boat, and landed at the city of Thes-Heru
(Apollinopolis Magna). And Thoth said, "The being of light who hath come forth from
Northern Nubia; the name means "Land of the Bow."
108 A portion of Northern Nubia.
109 The goddess of the South.
110 The goddess of the North.
111 I.e., Nekhebit and Uatchit.
112 "Great one of the Two Uraei-goddesses;" these goddesses had their places above the brow of the god, or at
the right and left of the solar disk.
Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
the horizon hath smitten the enemy in the form which he hath made, and he shall be
called Being of light who hath come forth from the horizon from this day onwards." 113
And Ra Heru-khuti (Ra Harmachis) said to Thoth, Thou shalt make this Winged Disk to
be in every place wherein I seat myself (or, dwell), and in [all] the seats of the gods in
the South, and in [all] the seats of the gods in the Land of the North in the
Country of Horus, 2 that it may drive away the evil ones from their domains."
Then Thoth made the image of the Winged Disk to be in every sanctuary and in every
temple, where they now are, wherein are all the gods and all the goddesses from this
day onwards. Now through the Winged Disk which is on the temple-buildings of all the
gods and all the goddesses of the Land of the Lily, 114 and the Land of the
Papyrus, 115 [these buildings] become shrines of Heru-Behutet.
As concerning Heru-Behutet, the great god, the lord of heaven, the president of the Ater
of the South, 116 he it is who is made to be on the right hand. This is Heru-Behutet 3 on
whom the goddess Nekhebit is placed in the form of a serpent (or, uraeus). As
concerning Heru-Behutet, the great god, the lord of heaven, the lord of Mesent, the
president of the Ater of the North, 117 he it is who is made to be on the left hand. This
Heru-Behutet on whom the goddess Uatchit is placed is in the form of a serpent.
As concerning Heru-Behutet, the great god, the lord of heaven, the lord of Mesent, the
president of the two Aterti of the South and North, Ra Heru-khuti set it (i.e., the Winged
Disk) in his every place, to overthrow the enemies in every place wherein they are. And
he shall be called President of the two Aterti of the South and North because of this from
this day onwards. 118
113 In the sculpture (Naville, Mythe, pi. 19) we see the god, who is hawk-headed, and wears the crowns of the
South and North, seated in a shrine set upon a pedestal. In the right hand he holds the sceptre and in the left
114 I.e., the North, especially the Delta.
115 I.e., the South.
116 I.e., the southern half of heaven
117 I.e., the northern half of heaven
118 In the sculpture which illustrates this portion of the text at Edfu, two Winged Disks are represented. The
first has 1 1 1 on each side of it. The disk has an uraeus on each side. The second winged symbol of the god
consists of a beetle with outstretched wings, which holds between his forelegs the solar disk, and between his
hind legs the symbol of the orbit of the sun.
75 Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
A HYMN TO OSI Rl S AND A LEGEND OF THE ORI Gl N OF
1. Homage to thee, Osiris, Lord of eternity, King of the gods, whose names are manifold,
whose transformations are sublime, whose form is hidden in the temples whose KA is
holy, the Governor of Tetut, 119 the mighty one of possessions (?) 2 in the shrine, 120 the
Lord of praises 121 in the nome of Anetch, 122 President of the tchefa food in
Anu, 123 Lord who art commemorated in [the town of] Maati, 124 the mysterious (or,
hidden) Soul, the Lord of Qerret, 125 the sublime one in White Wall, 126 the Soul of Ra
[and] his very body, who hast thy dwelling in 3 Henensu, 127 the beneficent one, who art
praised in Nart, 128 who makest to rise up thy Soul, Lord of the Great House in the
city 129 of the Eight Gods, 130 [who inspirest] great terror in Shas-hetep, 131 Lord of
eternity, Governor of Abtu (Abydos).
Thy seat (or, domain) reacheth far into Ta-tchesert, 132 and thy name is firmly stablished
in the mouth[s] of men. 4. Thou art the two-fold substance of the Two
Lands 133 everywhere (?), and the divine food ( tchef) of the KAU, 134 the Governor of the
Companies 135 of the Gods, and the beneficent (or, perfect) Spirit-soul 136 among Spirit-
souls. The god Nu draweth his waters from thee, 137 and thou bringest forth the north
wind at eventide, and wind from thy nostrils to the satisfaction of thy heart. 5. Thy heart
flourisheth, and thou bringest forth the splendour of tchef food.
The height of heaven and the stars [thereof] are obedient unto thee, and thou makest to
be opened the great gates [of the sky]. Thou art the lord to whom praises are sung in the
southern heaven, thou art he to whom thanks are given in the northern heaven. The
More fully Pa-Asar-neb-Tetut, the Busiris of the Greeks; Busiris = Pa-Asar, "House of Osiris," par excellence.
The variant Tataut also occurs.
120 An allusion, perhaps, to the town Sekhem, the capital of the second nome (Letopolites) of Lower Egypt.
121 l.e., lord whose praises are sung.
124 l.e., a famous sanctuary in the Letopolite nome where Ptah was worshipped.
125 The region of the First Cataract, where the Nile was believed to rise.
127 Herakleopolis, the 0]n of Isaiah.
128 A name of Herakleopolis.
129 Khemenu or Hermopolis, the city of Thoth.
130 These gods were: Nu and Nut; Hehu and Hehut; Kekui and Kekuit; Kerh and Kerhet.
131 The capital of Set, the eleventh nome of Upper Egypt; the chief local deity was Khnemu.
132 A name of the Other World.
133 l.e., the two Egypts, Upper and Lower.
134 The Doubles of the beatified who are fed by Osiris in the Other World.
135 Three Companies are distinguished: the gods of Heaven, the gods of Earth, and the gods of the Other
136 The indestructible, immortal Spirit-soul as opposed to the Ba-soul or animal-soul.
137 Here and in other places I have changed the pronoun of the third person into that of the second to avoid
the abrupt changes of the original.
Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
stars which never 6 diminish are under the place of thy face, 138 and thy seats are the
stars which never rest. 139 Offerings appear before thee by the command of Keb. The
Companies of the Gods ascribe praise unto thee, the Star-gods of the Tuat smell the
earth before thee, 140 the domains [make] bowings [before thee], and the ends of the
earth make supplication to thee 7 [when] they see thee.
Those who are among the holy ones are in terror of him, and the Two Lands, all of them,
make acclamations to him when they meet His Majesty. Thou art a shining Noble at the
head of the nobles, permanent in [thy] high rank, stablished in [thy] sovereignty, the
beneficent Power of the Company of the Gods. Well-pleasing [is thy] face, 8 and thou art
beloved by him that seeth thee. Thou settest the fear of thee in all lands, and because of
their love for thee [men] hold thy name to be pre-eminent. Every man maketh offerings
unto thee, and thou art the Lord who is commemorated in heaven and upon earth.
Manifold are the cries of acclamation to thee in the Uak 141 festival, and the 9 Two Lands
shout joyously to thee with one accord. Thou art the eldest, the first of thy brethren, the
Prince of the Company of the Gods, and the stablisher of Truth throughout the Two
Lands. Thou settest [thy] son upon the great throne of his father Keb. Thou art the
beloved one of thy mother Nut, whose valour is most mighty [when] thou overthrowest
the Seba Fiend. 10. Thou hast slaughtered thy enemy, and hast put the fear of thee into
Thou art the bringer in of the remotest boundaries, and art stable of heart, and thy two
feet are lifted up (?); thou art the heir of Keb and of the sovereignty of the Two Lands,
and he (i.e., Keb) hath seen thy splendid qualities, and hath commanded thee to
guide 11 the lands (i.e., the world) by thy hand so long as times [and seasons] endure.
Thou hast made this earth with thy hand, the waters thereof, the winds thereof, the
trees and herbs thereof, the cattle thereof of every kind, the birds thereof of every kind,
the fish thereof of every kind, the creeping things thereof, and the four-footed beasts
thereof. The land of the desert 142 belongeth by right to 12 the son of Nut, and the Two
Lands have contentment in making him to rise 143 upon the throne of his father like Ra.
Thou rollest up into the horizon, thou settest the light above the darkness, thou
illuminest [the Two Lands] with the light from thy two plumes, thou floodest the Two
Lands like the 13 Disk at the beginning of the dawn. Thy White Crown pierceth the
height of heaven saluting the stars, 144 thou art the guide of every god. Thou art
I.e., they are under thy inspection and care.
1 I.e., the stars which never set. The allusion is probably to certain circumpolar stars.
’ I.e., do homage.
' One of the chief festivals of Osiris, during which the god made a periplus.
' This may also represent the mountainous districts of Egypt, or even foreign countries in general.
’ To make him rise like the sun, or to enthrone him.
1 Or, "becoming a brother to the stars," or the Star-gods.
77 Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
perfect 145 in command and word. Thou art the favoured one of the Great Company of
the Gods, and thou art the beloved one of the Little Company of the Gods.
Thy sister [Isis] acted as a protectress to thee. She drove [thy] enemies away, 14 she
averted seasons [of calamity from thee], she recited the word (or, formula) with the
magical power of her mouth, [being] skilled of tongue and never halting for a word,
being perfect in command and word. Isis the magician avenged her brother. She went
about seeking for him untiringly. 15. She flew round and round over this earth uttering
wailing cries of grief, and she did not alight on the ground until she had found him. She
made light [to come forth] from her feathers, she made air to come into being by means
of her two wings, and she cried out the death cries for her brother. 16. She made to rise
up the helpless members of him whose heart was at rest, she drew from him his
essence, and she made therefrom an heir. She suckled the child in solitariness and none
knew where his. place was, and he grew in strength. His hand is mighty (or, victorious)
within the house 17 of Keb, and the Company of the Gods rejoice greatly at the coming
of Horus, the son of Osiris, whose heart is firmly stablished, the triumphant one, the son
of Isis, the flesh and bone of Osiris. The Tchatcha 146 of Truth, and the Company of the
Gods, and Neb-er-tcher 147 himself, and the Lords of Truth, gather together to him, and
assemble therein. 148 18. Verily those who defeat iniquity rejoice 149 in the House of Keb
to bestow the divine rank and dignity upon him to whom it belongeth, and the
sovereignty upon him whose it is by right.
146 Literally, the "Heads," l.e., the divine sovereign Chiefs at the court of Osiris, who acted as administrators of
the god, and even as task-masters.
147 "He who is the lord to the end (or, limit) of the world," a name of Osiris.
148 l.e., in the House of Keb.
149 Or perhaps "take their seats in the House of Keb."
78 Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
A LEGEND OF PTAH NEFER-HETEP AND THE PRI NCESS OF
1. The Horus: "Mighty Bull, the form(?) of risings 150 , stablished in sovereignty like
Tem." The Golden Horus: "Mighty one of strength 151 , destroyer of the Nine Nations of
the Bow." 152 King of the South and North: "The Lord of the Two Lands, User-Maat-Ra-
setep-en-Ra Son of Ra: "Of his body, Ra-meses-meri-Amen, of Amen-Ra; 153 2 the Lord of
the thrones of the Two Lands, and of the Company of the Gods, the Lords of Thebes, the
beloved one. The beneficent god, the son of Amen, born of Mut, begotten of Heru-khuti,
the glorious offspring of Neb-tchert, 154 begetting [as] the Bull of his Mother, 155 king of
Egypt, Governor of the deserts, the Sovereign 3 who hath taken possession of the Nine
Nations of the Bow; [who] on coming forth from the womb ordained mighty things, who
gave commands whilst he was in the egg, the Bull, stable of heart, who hath sent forth
his seed; the king who is a bull, [and] a god who cometh forth on the day of battle like
Menthu, 156 the mighty one of strength like the son of Nut." 157
4. Behold, His Majesty was in the country of Neheru 158 according to his custom every
year, and the chiefs of every land, even as far as the swamps, came [to pay] homage,
bearing offerings to the Souls of His Majesty; and they brought their gifts, gold, lapis-
lazuli, turquoise, 5 bars of wood of every kind of the Land of the God, 159 on their backs,
and each one surpassed his neighbour.
And the Prince of Bekhten [also] caused his gifts to be brought, and he set his eldest
daughter at the head of them all, and he addressed words of praise to His Majesty, and
prayed to him for his life. 6. And the maiden was beautiful, and His Majesty considered
her to be the most lovely [woman] in the world, and he wrote down as her title, "Great
Royal Wife, Ra-neferu; and when His Majesty arrived in Egypt, he did for her
whatsoever was done for the Royal Wife.
On the twenty-second day of the second month of the season of Shemu, 160 in the
fifteenth year [of his reign], behold, His Majesty was in Thebes, the Mighty [city], the
Mistress of cities, performing 7 the praises of Father Amen, the Lord of the thrones of
the Two Lands, in his beautiful Festival of the Southern Apt, 161 which was the seat of his
150 l.e., the image who rises like the sun day by day, or the image of [many] crowns.
151 Or, mighty one of the thigh, i.e., he of the mighty thigh.
152 The nations of Nubia who fought with bows and arrows.
153 In this version of the protocol of Rameses II. the second "strong name" of the king is omitted.
154 l.e., Neb-er-tcher.
155 Ka-mut-f, the Kapfjcfiq of the Greeks.
’ The War-god of Thebes,
The "country of the rivers," the D'anjof Gen. xxiv. 10, the
! A name including Western Asia and a portion of the East Coast of Africa.
’ The summer. The Copts called the second month of this season Paoni.
' The modern Temple of Luxor.
of Syrian writers.
79 Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
heart (i.e., the chosen spot) from primaeval time, [when] one came to say to His Majesty,
"An ambassador of the Prince of Bekhten hath arrived bearing many gifts for the Royal
Wife." And having been brought into the presence of 8 His Majesty with his gifts, he
spake words of adoration to His Majesty, saying, "Praise be unto thee, 0 thou Sun (Ra) of
the Nine Nations of the Bow, permit us to live before thee!" And when he had spoken,
and had smelt the earth before His Majesty, he continued his speech before His Majesty,
saying, "I have come unto thee, 9 my King and Lord, on behalf of Bent-Resht, the
younger sister of the Royal Wife Ra-neferu. [Some] disease hath penetrated into her
members, and I beseech Thy Majesty to send a man of learning to see her."
And His Majesty said, "Bring to me the magicians (or, scribes) of the House of Life, and
the nobles 10 of the palace." And having been brought into his presence straightway,
His Majesty said unto them, "Behold, I have caused you to be summoned [hither] in
order that ye may hear this matter. Now bring to me [one] of your company whose
heart is wise 162 , and whose fingers are deft." And the royal scribe UTehuti-em-heb
came into the presence of His Majesty, and His Majesty commanded him to depart to
Bekhten with that ambassador.
And when the man of learning had arrived in Bekhten, he found Bent-Resht in the
condition of a woman who is possessed by a spirit, and he found 12 this spirit to be an
evil one, and to be hostile in his disposition towards him.
And the Prince of Bekhten sent a messenger a second time into the presence of His
Majesty, saying, "0 King, my Lord, I pray His (i.e., Thy) Majesty to command that a god
be brought hither [to contend against the spirit."
13. Now when the messenger came] to His Majesty in the first month 163 of the season of
Shemu, in the twenty-sixth year [of his reign], on the day which coincided with that of
the Festival of Amen, His Majesty was in the palace (or, temple?) of Thebes. And His
Majesty spake a second time 164 in the presence of Khensu in Thebes, [called] "Nefer-
Hetep," saying, "0 my fair Lord, I present myself before thee a second time on behalf of
the daughter of the Prince of Bekhten." 14. Then Khensu, in Thebes, [called] "Nefer-
Hetep", was carried to Khensu, [called] "Pa-ari-sekher," the great god who driveth away
the spirits which attack. And His Majesty spake before Khensu in Thebes, [called]
"Nefer-Hetep," saying, "0 my fair Lord, if thou wilt give (i.e., turn) thy face to Khensu,
[called] 15 'Pa-ari-sekher,' the great god who driveth away the spirits which attack,
permit thou that he may depart to Bekhten;" [and the god] inclined his head with a deep
inclination twice. And His Majesty said, "Let, I pray, thy protective (or, magical) power
[go] (with him, so that I may make His Majesty to go to Bekhten to deliver the daughter
of the Prince of Bekhten [from the spirit].
Or, a skilled craftsman.
163 The month Pakhon of the Copts.
164 The text makes no mention of the first application to Khensu.
80 Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
16. And Khensu in Thebes, [called] "Nefer-Hetep," inclined his head with a deep
inclination twice. And he made [his] protective power to pass into Khensu, [called] "Pa-
ari-sekher-em-Uast," in a fourfold measure. Then His Majesty commanded that Khensu,
[called] "Pa-ari-sekher-em-Uast," should set out on his journey in a great boat,
[accompanied by] five smaller boats, and chariots, 17 and a large number of horses
[which marched] on the right side and on the left.
And when this god arrived in Bekhten at the end of a period of one year and five
months, the Prince of Bekhten came forth with his soldiers and his chief[s] before
Khensu, [called] "Pa-ari-sekher," and he cast himself down 18 upon his belly, saying,
"Thou hast come to us, and thou art welcomed by us, by the commands of the King of
the South and North, User-Maat-Ra-setep-en-Ra!"
And when this god had passed over to the place where Bent-Resht was, he worked upon
the daughter of the Prince of Bekhten with his magical power, and she became better
(i.e., was healed) 19straightway. And this spirit which had been with her said, in the
presence of Khensu, [called] "Pa-ari-sekher-em-Uast," "Come in peace (i.e., Welcome!), 0
great god, who dost drive away the spirits which attack! Bekhten is thy city, the people
thereof, both men and women, are thy (servants, and I myself am thy servant. 20. 1 will
[now] depart unto the place whence I came, so that I may cause thy heart to be content
about the matter concerning which thou hast come. I pray that Thy Majesty will
command that a happy day (i.e., a festival, or day of rejoicing) be made with me, and
with the Prince of Bekhten." And this god inclined his head [in approval] to his priest,
saying, 21 "Let the Prince of Bekhten make a great offering in the (presence of this
Now whilst Khensu, [called] "Pa-ari-sekher-em-Uast," was arranging these [things] with
the spirit, the Prince of Bekhten and his soldiers were standing there, and they feared
with an exceedingly great fear.22. And the Prince of Bekhten made a great offering in
the presence of Khensu, [called] "Pa-ari-sekher-em-Uast," and the spirit of the Prince of
Bekhten, and he made a happy day (i.e., festival) on their behalf, and [then] the spirit
departed in peace unto the place which he loved, by the command of Khensu, [called]
"Pa-ari-sekher-em-Uast." 23. And the Prince of Bekhten, and every person who was in
the country of Bekhten, rejoiced very greatly, and he took counsel with his heart, saying,
"It hath happened that this god hath been given as a gift to Bekhten, and I will not
permit him to depart to Egypt."
24. And [when] this god had tarried for three years and nine months in Bekhten, the
Prince of Bekhten, who was lying down asleep on his bed, saw this god come forth
outside his shrine (now he was in the form of a golden hawk), and he flew up into the
heavens and departed to Egypt; and when the Prince woke up 25 he was trembling.
And he said unto the prophet of Khensu, [called] "Pa-ari-sekher-em-Uast," "This god
who tarried with us hath departed to Egypt; let his chariot also depart to Egypt."
81 Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
26. And the Prince of Bekhten permitted [the image of] the god to set out for Egypt, and
he gave him many great gifts of beautiful things of all kinds, and a large number of
soldiers and horses [went with him]. And when they had arrived in peace in Thebes,
Khensu, [called] "Pa-ari-sekher-em-Uast," 27 went into the Temple of Khensu in Thebes,
[called] "Nefer-Hetep," and he placed the offerings which the Prince of Bekhten had
given unto him, beautiful things of all kinds, before Khensu in Thebes, [called] "Nefer-
Hetep," and he gave nothing thereof whatsoever to his [own] temple.
Thus Khensu, [called] "Pa-ari-sekher-em-Uast," arrived 28 in his temple in peace, on the
nineteenth day of the second month 165 of the season Pert, in the thirty-third year of the
[reign of the] King of the South and North, User-Maat-en-Ra-setep-en-Ra, the giver of
life, like Ra, for ever.
165 The month Mekhir of the Copts; the season Pert is the Egyptian spring.
82 Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
A LEGEND OF THE GOD KHNEMU AND OF A SEVEN YEARS'
1. In the eighteenth year of the Horus, Neter-Khat, of the King of the South and North,
Neter-Khat, of the Lord of the Shrines ofUatchit and Nekhebit, Neter-Khat, of the Golden
Horus Tcheser, 166 when Matar was Ha Prince, and Erpa, and Governor of the temple-
cities in the Land of the South, and director of the Khenti 167 folk in Abtu, 168 there was
brought unto him the following royal despatch: "This is to inform thee that misery hath
laid hold upon me
"2 [as I sit] upon the great throne by reason of those who dwell in the Great
House. 169 My heart is grievously afflicted by reason of the exceedingly great evil [which
hath happened] because Hapi (i.e., the Nile) hath not come forth 170 in my time to the
[proper] height for seven years. Grain is very scarce, vegetables are lacking altogether,
every kind of thing which men eat for their food hath ceased, and every man [now]
"3 his neighbour. Men wish to walk, but are unable to move, the child waileth, the young
man draggeth his limbs along, and the hearts of the aged folk are crushed with despair;
their legs give way under them, and they sink down to the ground, and their hands are
laid upon their bodies [in pain]. The shennu 171 nobles are destitute of counsel, and
[when] the storehouses which should contain supplies are opened, there cometh forth
therefrom nothing but wind. Everything
"4 is in a state of ruin. My mind hath remembered, going back to former time, when I
had an advocate, to the time of the gods, and of the Ibis-god, and of the chief Kher-heb
priest I-em-hetep, 172 the son of Ptah of his Southern Wall.
"Where is the place of birth of Hapi (the Nile)? What god, or what goddess, presideth (?)
over it? What manner of form hath he? It is he who stablisheth
"5 revenue for me, and a full store of grain. I would go to the Chief of Het-
Sekhet 173 whose beneficence strengtheneth all men in their works. I would enter into
Tcheser was a king of the lllrd Dynasty, and is famous as the builder of the Step Pyramid at Sakkarah. His
tomb was discovered by Mr. J. Garstang at Bet Khallaf in Upper Egypt in 1901.
167 I.e., the people who were in front of, that is, to the South of Egypt, or the population of the country which
lies between Dakkah and Aswan.
168 The ancient Egyptian name for Elephantine Island, which appears to have gained this name because it
resembled an elephant in shape.
169 I.e., the palace.
171 I.e., the high court officials and administrators.
172 The famous priest and magician, who was subsequently deified and became one of the chief gods of
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the House of Life, 174 I would unfold the written rolls [therein], and I would lay my hand
Then [Matar] set out on his journey, and he returned to me straightway. He gave me
instruction concerning the increase of Hapi, 175 and told me
6 all things which men had written concerning it, and he revealed to me the secret doors
(?) whereto my ancestors had betaken themselves quickly, the like of which has never
been, to [any] king since the time of Ra, (?). And he said unto me: "There is a city in the
middle of the stream wherefrom Hapi maketh his appearance;
"7. 'Abu' 176 was its name in the beginning; it is the City of the Beginning, and it is the
Nome of the City of the Beginning. [It reacheth] to Uaua, 177 which is the beginning of the
land. There is too a flight of steps, 178 which reareth itself to a great height, and is the
support of Ra, when he maketh his calculation to prolong life to everyone;
'Netchemtchem Ankh' 179 is the name of its abode. 'The two Qerti' 180 is the name of the
water, and they are the two breasts from which every good thing cometh forth (?).
"8. Here is the bed of Hapi (the Nile), wherein he reneweth his youth [in his season],
wherein he causeth the flooding of the land. He cometh and hath union as he journeyeth,
as a man hath union with a woman. And again he playeth the part of a husband and
satisfieth his desire. He riseth to the height of twenty-eight cubits [at Abu], and he
droppeth at Sma-Behutet 181
"9 to seven cubits. The union(?) there is that of the god Khnemu in [Abu. He smiteth the
ground] with his sandals, and [its] fulness becometh abundant; he openeth the bolt of
the door with his hand, and he throweth open the double door of the opening through
which the water cometh.
"Moreover, he dwelleth there in the form of the god Shu, 182 as one who is lord over his
own territory, and his homestead, the name of which is 'Aa' (i.e., the 'Island'). There he
keepeth an account of the products of the Land of the South and of the Land of the
"10 in order to give unto every god his proper share, and he leadeth to each [the
metals], and the [precious stones, and the four-footed beasts], and the feathered fowl,
Per-ankh, or Pa-ankh, was a name given to one of the temple-colleges of priests and scribes.
175 I.e., the Inundation, or Nile Flood.
176 The Elephant City, i.e., Elephantine.
177 A portion of Northern Nubia.
178 This is probably an allusion to the famous Nilometer on the Island of Philae.
179 I.e., "Sweet, sweet life."
180 The Qerti were the two openings through which the Nile entered this world from the great celestial ocean.
181 Diospolis of Lower Egypt, or "Thebes of the North."
182 The god who separated the Sky-goddess Nut from the embrace of her husband, the Earth-god Keb, and who
holds her above him each day.
Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
and the fish, and every thing whereon they live. And the cord [for the measuring of the
land] and the tablet whereon the register is kept are there.
"And there is an edifice of wood there, with the portals thereof formed of reeds, wherein
he dwelleth as one who is over his own territory, and he maketh the foliage of the trees
(?) to serve as a roof.
" 11 . His God-house hath an opening towards the south-east, and Ra (or, the Sun)
standeth immediately opposite thereto every day. The stream which floweth along the
south side thereof hath danger [for him that attacketh it], and it hath as a defence a wall
which entereth into the region of the men of Kens 183 on the South. Huge mountains
[filled with] masses of stone are round about its domain on the east side, and shut it in.
Thither come the quarrymen with things (tools?) of every kind, [when] they
"12 seek to build a House for any god in the Land of the South, or in the Land of the
North, or [shrines] as abodes for sacred animals, or royal pyramids, and statues of all
kinds. They stand up in front of the House of the God and in the sanctuary chamber, and
their sweet smelling offerings are presented before the face of the god Khnemu during
his circuit, even as [when they bring]
"13 garden herbs and flowers of every kind. The fore parts thereof are in Abu
(Elephantine), and the hind parts are in the city of Sunt (?). 184 One portion thereof is on
the east side 185 of the river, and another portion is on the west side 186 of the river, and
another portion is in the middle 187 of the river. The stream decketh the region with its
waters during a certain season of the year, and it is a place of delight for every man. And
works are carried on among these quarries [which are] on the edges [of the river?],
"14 for the stream immediately faceth this city of Abu itself, and there existeth the
granite, the substance whereof is hard (?); 'Stone of Abu' it is called.
" [Here is] a list of the names of the gods who dwell in the Divine House of Khnemu. The
goddess of the star Sept (Sothis), the goddess Anqet, Hap (the Nile-god), Shu, Keb, Nut,
Osiris, Horus, Isis, and Nephthys.
"15 the names of the stones which lie in the heart of the mountains, some on the east
side, some on the west side, and some in [the midst of] the stream of Abu. They exist in
the heart of Abu, they exist in the country on the east bank, and in the country on the
west bank, and in the midst of the stream, namely, "Bekhen- stone, Meri (or Meli)-
Kens extended south from Philae as far as Korosko.
Perhaps Sunut, = the Syene of the Greeks, and the njip of the Hebrews.
I.e., Contra Syene.
I.e., the Island of Elephantine.
Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
stone, Atbekhab (?)-stone, Rakes- stone, and white Utshi- stone; these are found on the
east bank. Per-tchani-s tone is found on the west bank, and the Teshi- stone in the river.
"16 [Here are] the names of the hard (or, hidden) precious stones, which are found in
the upper side, among them being the stone, the name 188 of which hath spread
abroad through [a space of] four atrumeasures: Gold, Silver, Copper, Iron, Lapis-lazuli,
Emerald, Thehen (Crystal?), Khenem (Ruby), Kai, Mennu, Betka (?), Temi, Na (?). The
following come forth from the fore part 189 of the land: Mehi- stone, [He\maki-s tone,
"17 Abheti-stone, iron ore, alabaster for statues, mother-of-emerald, antimony, seeds
(or, gum) of the sehi plant, seeds (or, gum) of the amem plant, and seeds (or, gum) of the
incense plant; these are found in the fore parts of its double city." These were the things
which I learned therefrom (i.e., from Matar).
Now my heart was very happy when I heard these things, and I entered into [the temple
of Khnemu]. The overseers unrolled the documents which were fastened up, the water
of purification was sprinkled [upon me], a progress was made [through] the secret
places, and a great offering [consisting] of bread-cakes, beer, geese, oxen (or, bulls), and
18 of all kinds were offered to the gods and goddesses who dwell in Abu, whose names
are proclaimed at the place [which is called], "Couch of the heart in life and power."
And I found the God standing in front of me, and I made him to be at peace with me by
means of the thank-offering which I offered unto him, and I made prayer and
supplication before him. Then he opened his eyes, and his heart was inclined [to hear]
me, and his words were strong [when he said], "I am Khnemu, 190 who fashioned thee.
My two hands were about thee and knitted together thy body, and
"19 made healthy thy members; and it is I who gave thee thy heart. Yet the minerals (or,
precious stones) [lie] under each other, [and they have done so] from olden time, and no
man hath worked them in order to build the houses of the god, or to restore those which
have fallen into ruin, or to hew out shrines for the gods of the South and of the North, or
to do what he ought to do for his lord, notwithstanding that 1 am the Lord and the
"I am [he] who created himself, Nu, the Great [God], who came into being at the
beginning, [and] Hapi, who riseth
I.e., the stone was very famous.
189 The "fore part," or "front," of the land means the country lying to the south of Nubia, and probably some
part of the modern Egyptian Sudan.
190 He was the "builder of men, maker of the gods, the Father who was from the beginning, the maker of things
which are, the creator of things which shall be, the source of things which exist, Father of fathers, Mother of
mothers, Father of the fathers of the gods and goddesses, lord of created things, maker of heaven, earth, Tuat,
water and mountains" (Lanzone, Dizionario, p. 957).
86 Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
"20 according to his will, in order to give health to him that laboureth for me. I am the
Director and Guide of all men at their seasons, the Most Great, the Father of the Gods,
Shu, the Great One, the Chief of the Earth. The two halves of the sky (i.e., the East and the
West) are as a habitation below me. A lake of water hath been poured out for me,
[namely,] Hap (i.e., the Nile), which embraceth the field-land, and his embrace provideth
the [means of] life for
"21 every nose (i.e., every one), according to the extent of his embrace of the field-land.
With old age [cometh] the condition of weakness. I will make Hap (i.e., the Nile) rise for
thee, and [in] no year shall [he] fail, and he shall spread himself out in rest upon every
land. Green plants and herbs and trees shall bow beneath [the weight of] their produce.
The goddess Renenet 191 shall be at the head of everything, and every product shall
increase by hundreds of thousands, according to the cubit of the year. The people shall
be filled, verily to their hearts' desire,
"22 and everyone. Misery shall pass away, and the emptiness of their store-houses of
grain shall come to an end. The land of Ta-Mert (i.e., Egypt) shall come to be a region of
cultivated land, the districts [thereof] shall be yellow with grain crops, and the grain
[thereof] shall be goodly. And fertility shall come according to the desire [of the people],
more than there hath ever been before."
Then I woke up at [the mention of] crops, my heart (or, courage) came [back], and was
equal to my [former] despair, and I made the
23 following decree in the temple of my father Khnemu:-
The king giveth an offering to Khnemu 192 the Lord of the city of Qebhet, 193 the
Governor of Ta-Sti, 194 in return for those things which thou hast done for me. There
shall be given unto thee on thy right hand [the river bank] of Manu, 195 and on thy left
hand the river bank of Abu, together with the land about the city, for a space of twenty
measures, 196 on the east side and on the west side, with the gardens, and the river front
"24 everywhere throughout the region included in these measures. From every
husbandman who tilleth the ground, and maketh to live again the slain, and placeth
water upon the river banks and all the islands which are in front of the region of these
measures, shall be demanded a further contribution from the growing crops and from
every storehouse, as
"25 thy share.
191 The goddess of the harvest.
192 Or perhaps, Khnemu-Ra.
193 Qebhet is the name given to the whole region of the First Cataract.
194 The "Land of the Bow," i.e., the Northern Sudan.
195 The Land of the setting sun, the West.
196 , .
87 Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
"Whatsoever is caught in the nets by every fisherman and by every fowler, and
whatsoever is taken by the catchers of fish, and by the snarers of birds, and by every
hunter of wild animals, and by every man who snareth lions in the mountains, when
these things enter [the city] one tenth of them shall be demanded.
"And of all the calves which are cast throughout the regions which are included in these
measures, one tenth of their number
"26 shall be set apart as animals which are sealed for all the burnt offerings which are
offered up daily.
"And, moreover, the gift of one tenth shall be levied upon the gold, ivory, ebony, spices,
carnelians (?), sa wood, seshes spice, dum palm fruit (?), nef wood, and upon woods and
products of every kind whatsoever, which the Khentiu, 197 and the Khentiu of Hen-
Resu, 198 and the Egyptians, and every person whatsoever [shall bring in].
"27. And [every] hand shall pass them by, and no officer of the revenue whatsoever
shall utter a word beyond these places to demand (or, levy on) things from them, or to
take things over and above [those which are intended for] thy capital city.
"And I will give unto thee the land belonging to the city, which beareth stones, and good
land for cultivation. Nothing thereof shall be [diminished] or withheld,
"28 of all these things in order to deceive the scribes, and the revenue officers, and the
inspectors of the king, on whom it shall be incumbent to certify everything.
"And further, I will cause the masons, and the hewers of ore (?), and the workers in
metal, and the smelters (?) of gold, and the sculptors in stone,
"29 and the ore-crushers, and the furnace-men (?), and handicraftsmen of every kind
whatsoever, who work in hewing, and cutting, and polishing these stones, and in gold,
and silver, and copper, and lead, and every worker in wood who shall cut down any tree,
or carry on a trade of any kind, or work which is connected with the wood trade, to
"30 pay tithe upon all the natural products (?), and also upon the hard stones which are
brought from their beds above, and quarried stones of all kinds.
"And there shall be an inspector over the weighing of the gold, and silver, and copper,
and real (i.e., precious) stones, and the [other] things, which the metal-workers require
for the House of Gold,
"31 and the sculptors of the images of the gods need in the making and repairing of
them, and [these things] shall be exempted from tithing, and the workmen also. And
everything shall be delivered (or, given) in front of the storehouse to their children, a
197 The inhabitants of the Northern Sudan, probably as far to the south as Napata.
198 The people of the Island of Meroe, and probably those living on the Blue and White Niles.
88 Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
second time, for the protection of everything. And whatsoever is before thy God-house
shall be in abundance, just as it hath ever been from the earliest time.
"32 And a copy of this decree shall be inscribed upon a stele, [which shall be set up] in
the holy place, according to the writing of the [original] document which is cut upon
wood, and [figures of] this god and the overseers of the temple shall be [cut] thereon.
Whosoever shall spit upon that which is on it shall be admonished by the rope. And the
overseers of the priests, and every overseer of the people of the House of the God, shall
ensure the perpetuation of my name in the House of the god Khnemu-Ra, the lord of Abu
(Elephantine), for ever."
89 Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
THE LEGEND OF THE DEATH OF HORUS THROUGH
THE STI NG OF A SCORPI ON AND OF HI S
RESURRECTION THROUGH THOTH, AND OTHER
MAGI CAL TEXTS
I .-I NCANTATI ONS AGAI NST REPTI LES AND NOXI OUS
CREATURES IN GENERAL
1. Get thee back, Apep, thou enemy of Ra, thou winding serpent in the form of an
intestine, without arms [and] without legs. Thy body cannot stand upright so that thou
mayest have therein being, long is thy 199 tail in front of thy 200 den, thou enemy; retreat
before 2 Ra. Thy head shall be cut off, and the slaughter of thee shall be carried out.
Thou shalt not lift up thy face, for his (i.e., Ra's) flame is in thy accursed soul. The odour
which is in his chamber of slaughter is in thy members, and thy form shall be
overthrown by the slaughtering knife of 3 the great god. The spell of the Scorpion-
goddess Serq driveth back thy might. Stand still, stand still, and retreat through her
Be vomited, 0 poison, I adjure thee to come forth on the earth. Horus uttereth a spell
over thee, Horus hacketh 4 thee in pieces, he spitteth upon thee; thou shalt not rise up
towards heaven, but shalt totter downwards, 0 feeble one, without strength, cowardly,
unable to fight, blind, without eyes, and with thine head turned upside down. Lift not up
thy face. Get thee back quickly, and find 5 not the way. Lie down in despair, rejoice not,
retreat speedily, and show not thy face because of the speech of Horus, who is perfect in
words of power. The poison rejoiced, [but] the heartfs] of many were very sad
thereat. 6. Horus hath smitten it with his magical spells, and he who was in sorrow is
[now] in joy. Stand still then, 0 thou who art in sorrow, [for] Horus hath been endowed
with life. 7. He coineth charged, appearing himself to overthrow the Sebiu fiends which
bite. All men when they see Ra praise the son of Osiris. Get thee back, Worm, 8 and draw
out thy poison which is in all the members of him that is under the knife. Verily the
might of the word of power of Horus is against thee. Vomit thou, 0 Enemy, get thee back,
Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
9. THE CHAPTER OF CASTI NG A SPELL ON THE CAT
Recite [the following formula] :--
"Hail, Ra, come to thy daughter! A scorpion hath stung her 10 on a lonely road. Her cry
hath penetrated the heights of heaven, and is heard along the paths. 11. The poison hath
entered into her body, and circulateth through her flesh. She hath set her mouth against
it; 201 verily the poison is in her members.
"12. Come then with thy strength, with thy fierce attack, and with thy red powers, and
force it 13 to be hidden before thee. Behold, the poison hath entered into all the
members of this Cat which is under my fingers. Be not afraid, be not afraid, 14 my
daughter, my splendour, [for] I have set myself near (or, behind) thee. I have
overthrown the poison 15 which is in all the limbs of this Cat. 0 thou Cat, thy head is the
head of Ra, the Lord of the Two Lands, the smiter of the rebellious peoples. 16.
Thy 202 fear is in all lands, 0 Lord of the living, Lord of eternity. 0 thou Cat, thy two eyes
are the Eye of the Lord of the Khut uraeus, who illumineth 17 the Two Lands with his
Eye, and illumineth the face on the path of darkness. 0 thou Cat, thy nose is the nose
of 18 Thoth, the Twice Great, Lord of Khemenu (Hermopolis), the Chief of the Two
Lands of Ra, who putteth breath into the nostrils of every person. 0 thou Cat, thine
ears 19 are the ears of Nebertcher, who hearkeneth unto the voice of all persons when
they appeal to him, and weigheth words (i.e., judgeth) in all the earth. 20. 0 thou Cat, thy
mouth is the mouth of Tern, the Lord of life, the uniter (?) of creation, who hath caused
the union (?) of creation; he shall deliver thee from every 21 poison. 0 thou Cat, thy
neck ( nehebt ) is the neck of Neheb-ka, President of the Great House, vivifier of men and
women by 22 means of the mouth of his two arms. 0 thou Cat, thy breast is the breast of
Thoth, the Lord of Truth, who hath given to thee breath to 23 refresh (?) thy throat, and
hath given breath to that which is therein. 0 thou Cat, thy heart is the heart of the god
Ptah, who healeth 24 thy heart of the evil poison which is in all thy limbs. 0 thou Cat, thy
hands 25 are the hands of the Great Company of the gods and the Little Company of the
gods, and they shall deliver thy hand from the poison from the mouth of every serpent.
0 thou Cat, 26 thy belly is the belly of Osiris, Lord of Busiris, the poison shall not work
any of its wishes in thy belly. 0 thou Cat, 27 thy thighs are the thighs of the god Menthu,
who shall make thy thighs to stand up, and shall bring the 28 poison to the ground. 0
thou Cat, thy leg-bones are the leg-bones of Khensu, 203 2 9 who travelleth over all the
Two Lands by day and by night, and shall lead the poison to the ground. 0 thou Cat, thy
legs (or, feet) 30 are the legs of Amen the Great, Horus, Lord of Thebes, who shall
stablish thy feet on the earth, and shall overthrow the poison. 0 thou Cat, thy haunches
are the haunches of Horus, 31 the avenger (or, advocate) of his father Osiris, and they
shall place Set in the evil which he hath wrought. 0 thou Cat, thy soles are the soles of
201 I.e., she hath directed her words against it.
202 Literally "his."
203 He was the messenger of the gods, and travelled across the sky under the form of the Moon; he sometimes
appears as a form of Thoth.
91 Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
Ra, who shall make the poison to return to the earth. 0 thou Cat, thy bowels are the
bowels of 32 the Cow-goddess Meh-urt, who shall overthrow and cut in pieces the
poison which is in thy belly and in all the members in thee, and in [all] the members of
the gods in heaven, and in [all] the members of the gods on earth, and shall
overthrow 33 every poison in thee. There is no member in thee without the goddess
who shall overthrow and cut in pieces the poison of every male serpent, and every
female serpent, and every scorpion, and every reptile, which may be in any
member 34 of this Cat which is under the knife. Verily Isis weaveth and Nephthys
spinneth against the poison. This woven garment strengthened! this [being, i.e., Horus],
who is perfect in words of power, through 35 the speech of Ra Heru-khuti, the great
god, President of the South and North: '0 evil poison which is in any member of this Cat
which is under the knife, come, issue forth upon the earth.'"
92 Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
Say the [following] words:--
"0 Ra-[Khuti], come to 36 thy daughter. 0 Shu, come to thy wife. 0 Isis, come to thy
sister, and deliver her from the evil poison which is in all her members. 37. Hail, 0 ye
gods, come ye and overthrow ye the evil poison which is in all the members of the Cat
which is under the knife.
"38. Hail, 0 aged one, who renewest thy youth in thy season, thou old man who makest
thyself to be a boy, grant thou that Thoth may come to me at [the sound of] my voice,
and behold, let him turn back from me Neta-ter. Osiris is on the water, the Eye of Horus
is with him. 39. A great Beetle spreadeth himself over him, great by reason of his grasp,
produced by the gods from a child. He who is over the water appeareth in a healthy
form. If he who is over the water shall be approached (or, attacked), the Eye of Horus,
which weepeth, shall be approached.
"Get ye back, 40 0 ye who dwell in the water, crocodiles, fish, that Enemy, male dead
person and female dead person, male fiend and female fiend, of every kind whatsoever,
lift not up your faces, 0 ye who dwell in the waters, ye crocodiles and fish. When Osiris
journeyeth over you, permit ye him to go to Busiris. Let your nostrils [be
closed], 41 your throats stopped up.
"Get ye back, Seba fiends! Lift ye not up your faces against him that is on the water
Osiris-Ra, riseth up in his Boat to look at the gods of Kher-ahat, and the Lords of the
Tuat stand up to slay thee when [thou] comest, 0 Neha-her, 42 against Osiris. [When] he
is on the water the Eye of Horus is over him to turn your faces upside down and to set
you on your backs.
"Hail, ye who dwell in the water, crocodiles and fish, Ra shutteth up your mouths,
Sekhet stoppeth up your throats, Thoth cutteth out your 43 tongues, and Heka blindeth
your eyes. These are the four great gods who protect Osiris by their magical power, and
they effect the protection of him that is on the water, of men and women of every kind,
and of beasts and animals of every kind which are on the water 44 by day. Protected are
those who dwell in the waters, protected is the sky wherein is Ra, protected is the great
god who is in the sarcophagus, protected is he who is on the water.
"A voice [which] crieth loudly is in the House of Net (Neith), a loud voice is in the Great
House, 45 a great outcry from the mouth of the Cat. The gods and the goddesses say,
'What is it? What is it?' [It] concerneth the Abtu Fish which is born. Make to retreat from
me thy footsteps, 0 Sebau fiend. I am Khnemu, the Lord of Her-urt. Guard
thyself 46 again from the attack which is repeated, besides this which thou hast done in
the presence of the Great Company of the gods. Get thee back, retreat thou from me. I
am the god. Oh, Oh, 0 [Ra], hast thou not heard the 47 voice which cried out loudly until
the evening on the bank of Netit, the voice of all the gods and goddesses which cried out
Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
loudly, the outcry concerning the wickedness which thou hast done, 0 wicked Sebau
fiend? Verily 48 the lord Ra thundered and growled thereat, and he ordered thy
slaughter to be carried out. Get thee back, Seba fiend! Hail! Hail!"
Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
1 1 .-THE NARRATI VE OF I SI S
48. 1 am Isis, [and] I have come forth from the dwelling (or, prison) wherein my brother
Set placed me. 49. Behold the god Thoth, the great god, the Chief of Maat 204 [both] in
heaven and on the earth, said unto me, "Come now, 0 Isis, thou goddess, moreover it is a
good thing to hearken, 205 [for there is] life to one who shall be guided [by the advice] of
another. Hide thou thyself with [thy] son the child, 50 and there shall come unto him
these things. His members shall grow, 206 and two-fold strength of every kind shall
spring up [in him]. [And he] shall be made to take his seat upon the throne of his father,
[whom] he shall avenge, 207 [and he shall take possession of] the exalted position of
Heq 208 of the Two Lands." 209
I came forth [from the dwelling] at the time of evening, and there came forth the Seven
Scorpions 51 which were to accompany me and to strike(?) for me with [their] stings.
Two scorpions, Tefen and Befen, were behind me, two scorpions, Mestet and Mestetef,
were by my side, and three scorpions, Petet, Thetet, and Maatet (or, Martet), were for
preparing the road for me. I charged them very strictly (or, in a loud voice), 52 and my
words penetrated into their ears: "Have no knowledge of [any], make no cry to the
Tesheru beings, and pay no attention to the 'son of a man' (i.e., anyone) who belongeth
to a man of no account," [and I said,] "Let your faces be turned towards the ground [that
ye may show me] the way." So the guardian of the company brought me to the
boundaries of the city of 53 Pa-Sui, 210 the city of the goddesses of the Divine Sandals,
[which was situated] in front of the Papyrus Swamps. 211
When I had arrived at the place where the people lived 212 1 came to the houses wherein
dwelt the wives [and] husbands. And a certain woman of quality spied me as I was
journeying along the road, and she shut 54 her doors on me. Now she was sick at heart
by reason of those [scorpions] which were with me. Then [the Seven Scorpions] took
counsel concerning her, and they all at one time shot out their venom on the tail of the
scorpion Tefen; as for me, the woman Taha 213 opened her door, and I entered into the
house of the miserable lady.
55. Then the scorpion Tefen entered in under the leaves of the door and smote (i.e.,
stung) the son of Usert, and a fire broke out in the house of Usert, and there was no
204 I.e., Law, or Truth.
205 Or, obey.
206 I.e., flourish.
207 He avenged his father Osiris by vanquishing Set.
208 I.e., tribal chief.
209 I.e., Upper and Lower Egypt.
210 "The House of the Crocodile," perhaps the same town as Pa-Sebekt, a district in the Vllth nome of Lower
211 Perhaps a district in the Metelite nome.
212 In Egyptian Teb, which may be the Tebut in the Metelite nome.
213 Taha may be the name of a woman, or goddess, or the word may mean a "dweller in the swamps," as
Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
water there to extinguish it; [but] the sky rained upon the house of Usert, though it was
not the season for rain. 214
56. Behold, the heart of her who had not opened her door to me was grievously sad, for
she knew not whether he (i.e., her son) would live [or not], and although she went
round about through her town uttering cries [for help], there was none who came at
[the sound of] her voice. Now mine own heart was grievously sad for the sake of the
child, and [I wished] to make to live [again] him that was free from fault. 57.
[Thereupon] 1 cried out to the noble lady, "Come to me. Come to me. Verily my mouth
(?) possesseth life. I am a daughter [well] known in her town, [and I] can destroy the
demon of death by the spell (or, utterance) which my father taught me to know. "I am
his daughter, 58 the beloved [offspring] of his body."
Then Isis placed her two hands on the child in order to make to live him whose throat
was stopped, [and she said],
"0 poison of the scorpion Tefent, come forth and appear on the ground! Thou shalt
neither enter nor penetrate [further into the body of the child], 0 poison of the scorpion
Befent, come forth and appear on the ground! 59. 1 am Isis, the goddess, the lady (or,
mistress) of words of power, and I am the maker of words of power (i.e., spells), and I
know how to utter words with magical effect. 215 Hearken ye unto me, 0 every reptile
which possesseth the power to bite (i.e., to sting), and fall headlong to the ground! 0
poison of the scorpion Mestet, make no advance [into his body]. 0 poison of the
scorpion Mestetef, rise not up [in his body]. 0 poison of the scorpions Petet and Thetet,
penetrate not [into his body]. [0 60 poison of] the scorpion Maatet (or, Martet), fall
down on the ground."
[Here follows the] "Chapter of the stinging [of scorpions]."
And Isis, the goddess, the great mistress of spells (or, words of power), she who is at the
head of the gods, unto whom the god Keb gave his own 61 magical spells for the driving
away of poison at noon-day (?), and for making poison to go back, and retreat, and
withdraw, and go backward, spake, saying, "Ascend not into heaven, through the
command 62 of the beloved one of Ra, the egg of the Smen goose which cometh forth
from the sycamore. Verily my words are made to command the uttermost limit 63 of the
night. I speak unto you, [0 scorpions] I am alone and in sorrow because our names will
suffer disgrace throughout the nomes. 64. Do not make love, do not cry out to the
Tesheru fiends, and cast no glances upon the noble ladies in their houses. Turn your
faces towards the earth and [find out] the road, 65 so that we may arrive at the hidden
I.e., it was not the season of the inundation.
215 By uttering spells Isis restored life to her husband Osiris for a season, and so became with child by him. She
made a magical figure of a reptile, and having endowed it with life, it stung Ra as he passed through the sky,
and the great god almost died. In Greek times it was believed that she discovered a medicine which would
raise the dead, and she was reputed to be a great expert in the art of healing men's sicknesses. As a goddess
she appeared to the sick, and cured them.
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places in the town of Khebt. 216 Oh the child shall live and the poison die! Ra liveth and
the poison dieth! Verily Horus shall be in good case (or, healthy) 66 for his mother Isis.
Verily he who is stricken shall be in good case likewise."
And the fire [which was in the house of Usert] was extinguished, and heaven was
satisfied 67 with the utterance of Isis, the goddess.
Then the lady Usert came, and she brought unto me her possessions, and she filled the
house of the woman Tah (?), for the KA of Tah (?), 68 because [she] had opened to me
her door. Now the lady Usert suffered pain and anguish the whole night, and her mouth
tasted (i.e., felt) the sting 69 [which] her son [had suffered]. And she brought her
possessions as the penalty for not having opened the door to me. Oh the child shall live
and the poison die! Verily Horus shall be in good case 70 for his mother Isis. Verily
everyone who is stricken shall be in good case likewise.
Lo, a bread-cake [made] of barley meal shall drive out (or, destroy) the poison, 71 and
natron shall make it to withdraw, and the fire [made] of hetchet- plant shall drive out (or,
destroy) fever-heat from the limbs.
"0 Isis, 0 Isis, come thou to thy 72 Horus, 0 thou woman of the wise mouth! Come to thy
son"-thus cried the gods who dwelt in her quarter of the town-"for he is as
one 73 whom a scorpion hath stung, and like one whom the scorpion Uhat, which the
animal Antesh drove away, hath wounded."
74. [Then] Isis ran out like one who had a knife [stuck] in her body, and she opened her
arms wide, [saying] "Behold me, behold me, my son 75 Horus, have no fear, have no
fear, 0 son my glory! No evil thing of any kind whatsoever shall happen unto thee, [for]
there is in thee the essence (or, fluid) which made the things which exist. 76. Thou art
the son from the country of Mesqet, 217 [thou hast] come forth from the celestial waters
Nu, and thou shalt not die by the heat of the poison. 77. Thou wast the Great
Bennu, 218 who art born (or, produced) or; the top of the balsam-trees 219 which are in
the House of the Aged One in Anu (Heliopolis). Thou 78 art the brother of the Abtu
Fish, 220 who orderest what is to be, and art the nursling of the Cat 221 who dwelleth
in 79 the House of Neith. The goddess Reret, 222 the goddess Hat, and the god Bes
protect thy members. Thy head shall not fall to the Tchat fiend 80 that attacketh thee.
Thy members shall not receive the fire of that which is thy poison. Thou shalt not go
216 The island of Chemmis of classical writers.
217 Mesqet was originally the name of the bull's skin in which the deceased was wrapped in order to secure for
him the now life; later the name was applied to the Other World generally. See Book of the Dead, Chap. xvii.
218 The Bennu who kept the book of destiny. See Book of the Dead, Chap. xvii. 25.
219 These are the balsam-trees for which Heliopolis has been always famous. They are described by
Wansleben, L'Histoire de I'Eglise, pp. 88-93, and by 'Abd al-Latif (ed. de Sacy), p. 88.
220 The Abtu and Ant Fishes swam before the Boat of Ra and guided it.
221 This is the Cat who lived by the Persea tree in Heliopolis. See Book of the Dead, Chap. xvii. 18.
222 A hippopotamus goddess.
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backwards on the land, and thou shalt not be brought low 81 on the water. No reptile
which biteth (or, stingeth) shall gain the mastery over thee, and no lion shall subdue
thee or have dominion over thee. Thou art the son of the sublime god 82 who proceeded
from Keb. Thou art Horus, and the poison shall not gain the mastery over thy members.
Thou art the son of the sublime god who proceeded from Keb, and thus likewise shall it
be with those who are under the knife. And the four 83 august goddesses shall protect
[Here the narrative is interrupted by the following texts:]
[I am] he who rolleth up into the sky, and who goeth down (i.e., setteth) in the Tuat,
whose form is in the House of height, through whom when he openeth his Eye the light
cometh into being, and when he closeth his Eye it becometh night. [I am] the Water-god
Het when he giveth 84 commands, whose name is unknown to the gods. I illumine the
Two Lands, night betaketh itself to flight, and I shine by day and by night. 223 1 am the
Bull of Bakha 224 , and the Lion of Manu 225 . 1 am he who traverseth the heavens by day
and by night without being repulsed. I have come 85 by reason of the voice (or, cry) of
the son of Isis. Verily the blind serpent Na hath bitten the Bull. 0 thou poison which
floweth through every member of him that is under the knife, come forth, 1 charge thee,
upon the ground. Behold, he that is under the knife shall not be bitten. 86. Thou art
Menu, the Lord of Coptos, the child of the White Shat 226 which is in Anu (Heliopolis),
which was bitten [by a reptile], 0 Menu, Lord of Coptos, give thou air unto him that is
under the knife; and air shall be given to thee. 87. Hail, divine father and minister of the
god Nebun, [called] Mer-Tem, son of the divine father and minister of the god Nebun,
scribe of the Water-god Het, [called] Ankh-Semptek (s/'c), son of the lady of the house
Tent-Het-nub! He restored this inscription after he had found it in a ruined state in the
Temple of Osiris-Mnevis, because he wished to make to live88 her name and
to give air unto him that is under [the knife], and to give life unto the ancestors of all the
gods. And his Lord Osiris-Mnevis shall make long his life with happiness of heart, [and
shall give him] a beautiful burial after [attaining to] an old age, because of what he hath
done for the Temple of Osiris-Mnevis.
89. Horus was bitten (i.e., stung) in Sekhet-An, to the north of 90 Hetep-hemt, whilst his
mother Isis was in the celestial houses making a libation 91 for her brother Osiris. And
Horus sent forth his cry into 92the horizon, and it was heard by those who were in
. Thereupon the keepers of the doors 93 who were in the [temple of] the holy Acacia
Tree started up at the voice of Horus. 94. And one sent forth a cry of lamentation, and
Heaven gave the order that Horus was to be healed. 95. And [the gods] took counsel
[together] concerning the life [of Horus, saying,] 96 "0 goddess Pai(?), 0 god
1 The land of the sunrise, the East.
’ The land of the sunset, the West.
’ Perhaps an animal of the Lynx class.
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Asten, 97 who dwellest in Aat-Khus(?) 227 thy enter in 98 lord of sleep .
the child Horus. Oh, Oh, 99 bring thou the things which are thine to cut off the
poison which is in every member 100 of Horus, the son of Isis, and which is in every
member of him that is under the knife likewise."
101. A HYMN OF PRAISE TO HORUS TO GLORIFY HIM, WHICH IS TO BE SAID 102 OVER
THE WATERS AND OVER THE LAND. Thoth speaketh and this god reciteth [the
"103. Homage to thee, god, son of a god. Homage to thee, heir, son of an heir. 104.
Homage to thee, bull, son of a bull, who wast brought 105 forth by a holy goddess.
Homage to thee, Horus, who comest forth from 106 Osiris, and wast brought forth by
the goddess Isis. I recite thy 107 words of power, I speak with thy magical
utterance. 108. 1 pronounce a spell in thine own words, which 109 thy heart hath
created, and all the spells and incantations which have come forth from thy
mouth, 110 which thy father Keb commanded thee [to recite], and thy motherlll Nut
gave to thee, and the majesty of the Governor of Sekhem taught thee to make use of for
thy protection, 112 in order to double (or, repeat) thy protective formulae, to shut the
mouth of 113 every reptile which is in heaven, and on the earth, and in 114 the waters,
to make men and women to live, to make the gods to be at peace [with thee], and to
make Ra to employ his magical spells 115 through thy chants of praise. Come to me this
day, quickly, quickly, 116 as thou workest the paddle of the Boat of the god. Drive thou
away from me every lion 117 on the plain, and every crocodile in the waters, and all
mouths which bite (or, sting) in their holes. 118. Make thou them before me like the
stone of the mountain, like a broken pot 119 lying about in a quarter of the town. Dig
thou out from me the poison which riseth and 120 is in every member of him that is
under the knife. Keep thou watch over him 121 by means of thy words. Verily let
thy name be invoked this day. Let thy power ( qefau ) come into beingl22 in him. Exalt
thou thy magical powers. Make me to live 123 and him whose throat is closed up. Then
shall mankind give thee praise, 124 and the righteous (?) shall give thanks unto thy
forms. And all the gods likewise shall invoke thee, 125 and in truth thy name shall be
invoked this day. I am Horus [of] Shet[enu] (?).
"126. 0 thou who art in the cavern, 228 0 thou who art in the cavern. 0 thou who art at
the mouth of the cavern. 127. 0 thou who art on the way, 0 thou who art on the way. 0
thou who art at the mouth of the way. 128. He is Urmer (Mnevis) who approacheth
every man 129 and every beast. He is like the god Sep who is in Anu (Heliopolis). 130.
He is the Scorpion- [god] who is in the Great House (Het-ur). Bite him not, for he
is 131 Ra. Sting him not, for he is Thoth. Shoot ye not 132 your poison over him, for he
is Nefer-Tem. 0 every male serpent, 133 0 every female serpent, 0
every antesh (scorpion?) which bite with your mouths, 134 and sting with your tails,
bite 135 ye him not with your mouths, and sting ye him not with your tails. 136. Get ye
227 The text appears to be corrupt in this passage.
228 Or, den or hole.
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afar off from him, make ye not your fire to be against him, for he is the son of
Osiris. 137. Vomit ye. [Say] fourtimes:--
"138. 1 am Thoth, I have come from heaven to make protection of Horus, 139 and to
drive away the poison of the scorpion which is in every member of Horus. 140. Thy
head is to thee, Horus; it shall be stable under 141 the Urert Crown. Thine eye is to thee,
Horus, [for] thou art 142 Horus, the son of Keb, the Lord of the Two Eyes, in the midst of
the Company [of the gods]. Thy nose is to thee, 143 Horus, [for] thou art Horus the
Elder, the son of Ra, and thou shalt not inhale 144 the fiery wind. Thine arm is to thee,
Horus, 145 great is thy strength to slaughter the enemies of thy father. Thy two
thighs 229 146 are to thee, Horus. Receive thou the rank and dignity of thy
father 147 Osiris. Ptah hath balanced for thee thy mouth on the day of 148 thy birth.
Thy heart (or, breast) is to thee, Horus, and the Disk 149 maketh thy protection. Thine
eye is to thee, Horus; thy right eye 150 is like Shu, and thy left eye like Tefnut, who are
the children 151 of Ra. Thy belly is to thee, Horus, and the Children are the gods who
are therein, 152and they shall not receive the essence (or, fluid) of the scorpion. Thy
strength is to thee, Horus, 153 and the strength of Set shall not exist against thee. Thy
phallus is to thee, 154 Horus, and thou art Kamutef, the protector 155 of his father, who
maketh an answer for his children 156 in the course of every day. Thy thighs are to
thee, Horus, and thy 157 strength shall slaughter the enemies of thy father. 158. Thy
calves are to thee, Horus; the god Khnemu hath budded [them], 159 and the goddess
Isis hath covered them with flesh. The soles of thy feet are to thee, Horus, 160 and the
nations who fight with the bow (Peti) fall under thy feet. Thou rulest 161 the South,
North, West, and East, and thou seest 162 like Ra. [Say] four times. And likewise him
that is under the knife."
163. Beautiful god, Senetchem-ab-Ra-setep-[en]-Amen, son of Ra, Nekht-Heru-
Hebit, 164 thou art protected, and the gods and goddesses are protected, and
conversely. 165. Beautiful god, Senetchem-ab-Ra-setep-[en]-Ra, son of Ra, Nekht-Heru-
Hebit, 166 thou art protected, and Heru-Shet[enu], the great god, is protected, and
167. ANOTHER CHAPTER LIKE UNTO IT. "Fear not, fear not, 0 Bast, the strong of heart,
at the head of the holy field, the mighty one among all the gods, nothing shall gain the
mastery over thee. Come thou outside, following my speech (or, mouth), 0
evil 168 poison which is in all the members of the lion (or, cat) which is under the
[The narrative of the stinging of Horus by a scorpion is continued thus] :
"I am Isis, who conceived a child by her husband, and she became heavy with Horus, the
divine [child]. I gave birth to Horus, the son of Osiris, in a nest of papyrus plants. 230 1
229 We ought, perhaps, to translate this as "forearms."
230 Or, Ateh, the papyrus swamp.
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rejoiced exceedingly over this, because 169 I saw [in him one] who would make answer
for his father. I hid him, and I concealed him through fear of that [fiend (?)]. 231 1 went
away to the city of Am, [where] the people gave thanks [for me] through [their] fear of
my making trouble [for them]. I passed the day in seeking to provide food for the child,
[and] on returning to take Horus into my arms I found him, Horus, the beautiful
one 170 of gold, the boy, the child, without [life]. He had bedewed the ground with the
water of his eye, and with foam from his lips. His body was motionless, his heart was
powerless to move, and the sinews (or, muscles) of his members were [helpless]. I sent
forth a cry, [saying] :
'"I, even 1, 171 lack a son to make answer [for me]. 232 [My] two breasts are full to
overflowing, [but] my body is empty. [My] mouth wished for that which concerned
him. 233 A cistern of water and a stream of the inundation was I. The child was the desire
of my heart, and I longed to protect him (?). I carried him in my womb, I gave birth to
him, 172 I endured the agony of the birth pangs, I was all alone, and the great ones were
afraid of disaster and to come out at the sound of my 173 voice. My father is in the
Tuat, 234 my mother is in Aqert, 235 and my elder brother 174 is in the sarcophagus.
Think of the enemy and of how prolonged was the wrath of his heart 175 against me,
[when] I, the great lady, was in his house.'
"I cried then, [saying,] 'Who 176 among the people will indeed let their hearts come
round to me?' I cried then 177 to those who dwelt in the papyrus swamps (or, Ateh),
and they inclined to me straightway.178. And the people came forth to me from their
houses, and they thronged about me 179 at [the sound of] my voice, and they loudly
bewailed with me the greatness of my affliction. 180. There was no man there who set
restraint (?) on his mouth, every person among them lamented 181 with great
lamentation. There was none there who knew how to make [my child] to live.
"And there came forth unto me a woman who was [well] known 182 in her city, a lady
who was mistress of her [own] estate. 236 She came forth to me. Her mouth
possessed 183 life, and her heart was filled with the matter which was therein, [and she
said,] 'Fear not, fear not, 0 son Horus! 184. Be not cast down, be not cast down, 0
mother of the god. The child of the Olive-tree is by the mountain of his brother, 185 the
bush is hidden, and no enemy shall enter therein. The word of power of Tern, the Father
of the gods, 186 who is in heaven, maketh to live. Set shall not enter into this region, he
shall not go round about it. 187. The marsh of Horus of the Olive-tree is by the
mountain of his brother; those who are in his following shall not at any time
it. 188. This shall happen to him: Horus shall live for his mother, and shall salute (2)
232 I.e., to be my advocate.
233 Literally "his thing."
234 Tuat is a very ancient name of the Other World, which was situated either parallel with Egypt or across the
celestial ocean which surrounded the world.
235 The "perfect place," i.e., the Other World.
236 Or perhaps, "a lady who was at the head of her district."
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[her] 189 with his mouth. A scorpion hath smitten (i.e., stung) him, and the reptile Aun-
ab hath wounded him.'" 190.
Then Isis placed her nose in his mouth 237 so that she might know whether he who was
in 191 his coffin breathed, and she examined the wound 238 of the heir of the god, and
she found that there was poison 192in it. She threw her arms round him, and then
quickly she leaped about with him like fish when they are laid 193 upon the hot coals,
"Horus is bitten, 0 Ra. Thy son is bitten, [0 Osiris]. 194. Horus is bitten, the flesh and
blood of the Heir, the Lord of the diadems (?) of the kingdoms of Shu. 195. Horus is
bitten, the Boy of the marsh city of Ateh, the Child in the House of the Prince. 196. The
beautiful Child of gold is bitten, the Babe hath suffered pain and is not. 239 Horus is
bitten, he the son of Un-Nefer, 197 who was born of Auh-mu (?). Horus is bitten, he in
whom there was nothing abominable, 198 the son, the youth among the gods. Horus is
bitten, he for whose wants I prepared in abundance, 199 for I saw that he would make
answer 240 for his father. Horus is bitten, he for whom [I] had care 200 [when he was] in
the hidden woman [and for whom I was afraid when he was] in the womb of his mother.
Horus is bitten, he whom I guarded 201 to look upon. I have wished for the life of his
heart. Calamity hath befallen the child 202 on the water, and the child hath perished."
Then came Nephthys 203 shedding tears and uttering cries of lamentation, and going
round about through the papyrus swamps. And Serq [came also and they
said]: 204 "Behold, behold, what hath happened to Horus, son of Isis, and who [hath
done it]? Pray then to heaven, 205 and let the mariners of Ra cease their labours for a
space, for the Boat of Ra cannot travel onwards [whilst] son Horus 206 [lieth dead] on
And Isis sent forth her voice into heaven, and made supplication to the Boat of Millions
of Years, and the 207 Disk stopped 241 in its journeying, and moved not from the place
whereon it rested. Then came forth Thoth, who is equipped 208 with his spells (or,
words of power), and possesseth the great word of command of maa-kheru, 242 [and
said:] "What [aileth thee], what [aileth thee], 0 Isis, thou goddess who hast magical
spells, 209 whose mouth hath understanding? Assuredly no evil thing hath befallen
[thy] son Horus, [for] the Boat of Ra hath him under its protection. 210. 1 have come this
day in the Divine Boat of the Disk from the place where it was yesterday, 211--now
I.e., the mouth of Horus.
238 Literally, "pain" or "disease."
239 He is nothing, i.e., he is dead.
240 I.e., become an advocate for.
241 Literally, "alighted."
242 When a god or a man was declared to be maa-kheru, "true of voice," or "true of word," his power became
illimitable. It gave him rule and authority, and every command uttered by him was immediately followed by
the effect required.
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darkness came and the light was destroyed--in order to heal Horus for his
mother 212 Isis and every person who is under the knife likewise."
And Isis, the goddess, said: "0 Thoth, great things 213 [are in] thy heart, [but] delay
belongeth to thy plan. Hast thou come 214 equipped with thy spells and incantations,
and having the great formula of maa-kheru, and one [spell] after the other, the numbers
whereof are not known? 215. Verily Horus is in the cradle(?) of the poison. Evil, evil is
his case, death, [and] misery 216 to the fullest [extent]. The cry of his mouth is towards
his mother(?). I cannot [bear] to see these things in his train. My heart [hath not] rested
because of them 217 since the beginning(?) [when] I made haste to make answer [for]
Horus-Ra (?), placing [myself] on the earth, [and] since the day [when] 218 I was taken
possession of by him. I desired Neheb-ka 219"
[And Thoth said:] "Fear not, fear not, 0 goddess Isis, fear not, fear not, 0 Nephthys, and
let not anxiety [be to you]. 220. 1 have come from heaven having life to heal(?) the child
for his mother, Horus is . . . Let thy heart be firm; 243 he shall not sink under the
flame. 221. Horus is protected as the Dweller in his Disk, 244 who lighteth up the Two
Lands by the splendour of his two Eyes; 245 and he who is under the knife is likewise
protected. 222. Horus is protected as the First-born son in heaven, 246 who is ordained
to be the guide of the things which exist and of the things which are not yet created; and
he who under the knife is protected likewise. 224. Horus is protected as that great
Dwarf ( nemu ) 247 who goeth round about the Two Lands in the darkness; and he who is
under the knife is protected likewise. 224. Horus is protected as the Lord (?) in the
night, who revolveth at the head of the Land of the Sunset (Manu); and he who is under
the knife is protected likewise. 225. Horus is protected as the Mighty Ram 248 who is
hidden, and who goeth round about in front of his Eyes; and he who is under the knife is
protected likewise. Horus is protected as the Great Hawk 249 226 which flieth through
heaven, earth, and the Other World (Tuat); and he who is under the knife is protected
likewise. Horus is protected as the Holy Beetle, the mighty (?) wings of which 227 are at
the head of the sky; l 250 and he who is under the knife is protected likewise. Horus is
protected as the Hidden Body, 251 and as he whose mummy is in his sarcophagus; and
he who is under the knife is protected likewise. 228. Horus is protected [as the Dweller]
in the Other World [and in the] Two Lands, who goeth round about 'Those who are over
Hidden Things'; and he who is under the knife is protected likewise. 229. Horus is
protected as the Divine Bennu 252 who alighteth in front of his two Eyes; and he who is
243 l.e., "Be of good courage."
244 The Sun-god.
245 The Sun and Moon.
246 Osiris (?).
247 Bes (?).
248 Probably the Ram, Lord of Tattu, or the Ram of Mendes.
250 The beetle of Khepera, a form of the Sun-god when he is about to rise on this earth.
251 The Hidden Body is Osiris, who lay in his sarcophagus, with Isis and Nephthys weeping over it.
252 The Bennu was the soul of Ra and the incarnation of Osiris.
1 03 Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
under the knife is protected likewise. Horus is protected 230 in his own body, and the
spells which his mother Isis hath woven protect him. Horus is protected by the names of
his father [Osiris] in 231 his forms in the nomes; 253 and he who is under the knife is
protected likewise. Horus is protected by the weeping of his mother, and by the cries of
grief of his brethren; and he 232 who is under the knife is protected likewise. Horus is
protected by his own name and heart, and the gods go round about him to make his
funeral bed; and he who is under the knife is protected likewise."
[And Thoth said:]
"233. Wake up, Horus! Thy protection is established. Make thou happy the heart of thy
mother Isis. The words of Horus shall bind 234 up hearts, he shall cause to be at peace
him who is in affliction. Let your hearts be happy, 0 ye who dwell in the heavens (Nut).
Horus, he 235 who hath avenged (or, protected) his father shall cause the poison to
retreat. Verily that which is in the mouth of Ra shall go round about (i.e., circulate), and
the 236 tongue of the Great God shall repulse [opposition]. The Boat [of Ra] standeth
still, and travelleth not onwards. The Disk is in the [same] place where it was yesterday
to heal 237 Horus for his mother Isis, and to heal him that is under the knife of his
mother 254 likewise. 238. Come to the earth, draw nigh, 0 Boat of Ra, make the boat to
travel, 0 mariners of heaven, 239 transport provisions (?) of Sekhem 255 to heal
Horus for his mother Isis, and to heal 240 him that is under the knife of his mother
likewise. Hasten away, 0 pain which is in the 241 region round about, and let it (i.e., the
Boat) descend upon the place where it was yesterday to heal Horus for his mother
Isis, 242 and to heal him that is under the knife of his mother likewise. Get thee round
and round, 0 bald (?) fiend, without horns 243 at the seasons (?), not seeing the forms
through the shadow of the two Eyes, to heal Horus for his mother 244 Isis, and to heal
him that is under the knife likewise. Be filled, 0 two halves of heaven, be empty, 0
papyrus roll, return, 0 life, into the living to heal Horus for his it mother Isis, 245 and to
heal him that is under the knife likewise. Come thou to earth, 0 poison. Let hearts be
glad, and let radiance (or, light) go round about.
"I am Thoth, 256 the firstborn son, the son of Ra, and Tern and the Company of the gods
have commanded me to heal Horus for his mother Isis, and to heal him that is under the
knife likewise. 0 Horus, 0 Horus, thy KA protecteth thee, and thy Image worketh
protection for thee. The poison is as the daughter of its [own] flame; [it is] destroyed
[because] it smote the strong son. 246. Your temples are in good condition for you, [for]
Horus liveth for his mother, and he who is under the knife likewise."
And the goddess Isis said:
253 See the names of Osiris and his sanctuaries in Chapter CXLII. of the Book of the Dead.
254 We should probably strike out the words "of his mother."
255 The city in the Delta called by the Greeks Letopolis.
256 Thoth stood by during the fight between Horus and Set, and healed the wounds which they inflicted on
1 04 Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
"Set thou his face towards those who dwell in the North Land (Ateh), the nurses who
dwell in the city Pe-Tept (Buto), for they have offered very large offerings in order to
cause the child to be made strong for his mother, and to make strong him that is under
the knife likewise. Do not allow them to recognize the divine KA in the Swamp Land, in
the city (?) of Nemhettu (?) [and] in her city."
247. Then spake Thoth unto the great gods who dwell in the Swamp-Land [saying]: "0
ye nurses who dwell in the city of Pe, who smite [fiends] with your hands, and
overthrow [them] with your arms on behalf of that Great One who appeareth in front of
you 248 [in] the Sektet Boat, 257 let the Matet 258 (Mantchet) Boat travel on. Horus is to
you, he is counted up for life, and he is declared for 249 the life of his father [Osiris]. I
have given gladness unto those who are in the Sektet Boat, and the mariners [of Ra]
make it to journey on. Horus liveth for his mother Isis, and he who is under the knife
liveth for his mother likewise. As for the poison, the strength thereof has been made
powerless. Verily I am a favoured one, and I will join myself 250 to his hour 259 to hurl
back the report of evil to him that sent it forth. The heart of Ra-Heru-Khuti rejoiceth.
Thy son Horus is counted up for life [which is] on this child to make him to smite, and to
retreat (?) from those who are above, and to turn back the paths of the Sebiu fiends
from him, so that he may take possession of the throne of the Two Lands. Ra is in
heaven to make answer on 251 behalf of him and his father. The words of power of his
mother have lifted up his face, and they protect him and enable him to go round about
wheresoever he pleaseth, and to set the terror of him in celestial beings. I have made
257 The boat in which Ra travelled from noon to sunset, or perhaps until midnight.
258 The boat in which Ra travelled from dawn, or perhaps from midnight, to noon.
259 i.e., I will be with him at the moment of his need.
1 05 Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
THE HI STORY OF I SI S AND OSI Rl S, Wl TH
EXPLANATIONS OF THE SAME, COLLECTED BY
PLUTARCH, AND SUPPLEMENTED BY HIS OWN
I. Though it be the wise man's duty, 0 CLEA, 260 to apply to the gods for every good thing
which he hopes to enjoy, yet ought he more especially to pray to them for their
assistance in his search after that knowledge which more immediately regards
themselves, as far as such knowledge may be attained, inasmuch as there is nothing
which they can bestow more truly beneficial to mankind, or more worthy themselves,
than truth. For whatever other good things are indulged to the wants of men, they have
all, properly speaking, no relation to, and are of a nature quite different from, that of
their divine donors. For 'tis not the abundance of their gold and silver, nor the command
of the thunder, but wisdom and knowledge which constitute the power and happiness
of those heavenly beings. It is therefore well observed by Homer (Iliad, xiii. 354), and
indeed with more propriety than be usually talks of the gods, when, speaking of Zeus
and Poseidon, he tells us that both were descended from the same parents, and born in
the same region, but that Zeus was the elder and knew most"; plainly intimating thereby
that the empire of the former was more august and honourable than that of his brother,
as by means of his age he was his superior, and more advanced in wisdom and science.
Nay, 'tis my opinion, I own, that even the blessedness of that eternity which is the
portion of the Deity himself consists in that universal knowledge of all nature which
accompanies it; for setting this aside, eternity might be more properly styled an endless
duration than an enjoyment of existence.
260 She is said to have been a priestess of Isis and of Apollo Delphicus.
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II. To desire, therefore, and covet after truth, those truths more especially which
concern the divine nature, is to aspire to be partakers of that nature itself, and to
profess that all our studies and inquiries are devoted to the acquisition of holiness. This
occupation is surely more truly religious than any external purifications or mere service
of the temple can be. But more especially must such a disposition of mind be highly
acceptable to that goddess to whose service you are dedicated, for her especial
characteristics are wisdom and foresight, and her very name seems to express the
peculiar relation which she bears to knowledge. For "Isis" 261 is a Greek word, and
means "knowledge," and "Typhon," 262 the name of her professed adversary, is also a
Greek word, and means "pride and insolence." This latter name is well adapted to one
who, full of ignorance and error, tears in pieces and conceals that holy doctrine which
the goddess collects, compiles, and delivers to those who aspire after the most perfect
participation in the divine nature. This doctrine inculcates a steady perseverance in one
uniform and temperate course of life, and an abstinence from particular kinds of foods,
as well as from all indulgence of the carnal appetite, and it restrains the intemperate
and voluptuous part within due bounds, and at the same time habituates her votaries to
undergo those austere and rigid ceremonies which their religion obliges them to
observe. The end and aim of all these toils and labours is the attainment of the
knowledge of the First and Chief Being, who alone is the object of the understanding of
the mind; and this knowledge the goddess invites us to seek after, as being near and
dwelling continually with her. And this also is what the very name of her temple
promiseth to us, that is to say, the knowledge and understanding of the eternal and self-
existent Being (xou Ovxaq)-now, it is called "Iseion," which suggests that if we approach
the temple of the goddess rightly, and with purity, we shall obtain the knowledge of that
eternal and self-existent Being (xO Ov).
261 The Egyptian form of the name is AS-T,
name from some form of oT’6a.
262 In Egyptian, TEBH.
Plutarch wishes to derive the
1 07 Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
III. The goddess Isis is said by some authors to be the daughter 263 of Hermes, 264 and by
others of Prometheus, both of them famous for their philosophic turn of mind. The latter
is supposed to have first taught mankind wisdom and foresight, as the former is reputed
to have invented letters and music.
They likewise call the former of the two Muses at Hermopolis 265 Isis as well as
Dikaiosune, 266 she being none other, it is said, than Wisdom pointing out the knowledge
of divine truths to her votaries, the true Hierophori and Hierostoli. Now, by the former
of these are meant such who carry about them looked up in their souls, as in a chest, the
sacred doctrine concerning the gods, purified from all such superfluities as superstition
may have added thereto. And the holy apparel with which the Hierostoli adorn the
statues of these deities, which is partly of a dark and gloomy and partly of a more bright
and shining colour, seems aptly enough to represent the notions which this doctrine
teaches us to entertain of the divine nature itself, partly clear and partly obscure. And
inasmuch as the devotees of Isis after their decease are wrapped up in these sacred
vestments, is not this intended to signify that this holy doctrine still abides with them,
and that this alone accompanies them in another life? For as 'tis not the length of the
beard or the coarseness of the habit which makes a philosopher, so neither will these
frequent shavings, or the mere wearing of a linen vestment, constitute a votary of Isis.
He alone is a true servant or follower of this goddess who, after he has heard, and has
been made acquainted in a proper manner with the history of the actions of these gods,
searches into the hidden truths which lie concealed under them, and examines the
whole by the dictates of reason and philosophy.
According to the Egyptian Heliopolitan doctrine, Isis was the daughter of Keb, the Earth-god, and Nut, the
Sky-goddess; she was the wife of Osiris, mother of Horus, and sister of Set and Nephthys.
264 The Egyptian. TEHUTI, or Thoth, who invented letters, mathematics, &c. He was the "heart of Ra," the
scribe of the gods, and he uttered the words which created the world; he composed the "words of power," or
magical formulae which were beneficial for the dead, and the religious works which were used by souls in their
journey from this world to the next.
265 The Hermopolis here referred to is the city of Khemenu in Upper Egypt, wherein was the great sanctuary of
266 i.e., Righteousness, or Justice. The goddess referred to is probably Maat.
1 08 Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
IV. Nor, indeed, ought such an examination to be looked on as unnecessary whilst there
are so many ignorant of the true reason even of the most ordinary rites observed by the
Egyptian priests, such as their shavings l 267 and wearing linen garments. Some, indeed,
there are who never trouble themselves to think at all about these matters, whilst
others rest satisfied with the most superficial accounts of them: "They pay a peculiar
veneration to the sheep, 268 therefore they think it their duty not only to abstain from
eating its flesh, but likewise from wearing its wool. They are continually mourning for
their gods, therefore they shave themselves. The light azure blossom of the flax
resembles the clear and bloomy colour of the ethereal sky, therefore they wear linen";
whereas the true reason of the institution and observation of these rites is but one, and
that common to all of them, namely, the extraordinary notions which they entertain of
cleanliness, persuaded as they are, according to the saying of Plato, "none but the pure
ought to approach the pure." Now, no superfluity of our food, and no excrementitious
substance, is looked upon by them as pure and clean; such, however, are all kinds of
wool and down, our hair and our nails. It would be the highest absurdity, therefore, for
those who, whilst; they are in a course of purification, are at so much pains to take off
the hair from every part of their own bodies, at the same time to clothe themselves with
that of other animals. So when we are told by Hesiod "not to pare our nails whilst we are
present at the festivals of the gods," 269 we ought to understand that he intended hereby
to inculcate that purity wherewith we ought to come prepared before we enter upon
any religious duty, that we have not to make ourselves clean whilst we ought to be
occupied in attending to the solemnity itself. Now, with regard to flax, this springs out of
the immortal earth itself; and not only produces a fruit fit for food, but moreover
furnishes a light and neat sort of clothing, extremely agreeable to the wearer, adapted to
all the seasons of the year, and not in the least subject, as is said, to produce or nourish
vermin; but more of this in another place.
267 A rubric in the papyrus of Nes-Menu in the British Museum orders the priestesses of Isis and Nephthys to
have "the hair of their bodies shaved off" (No. 10,188, col. 1), but they are also ordered to wear fillets of rams'
wool on their heads.
268 Probably the ram of Amen. Animal sacrifices were invariably bulls and cows.
" 9 This saying is by Pythagoras-llapd 0uo(av pr] ovux^ou. The saying of Hesiod ( Works and Days, 740) is
rendered by Goodwin:--
"Not at a feast of Gods from five-branched tree.
With sharp-edged steel to part the green from dry."
1 09 Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
V. Now, the priests are so scrupulous in endeavouring to avoid everything which may
tend to the increase of the above-mentioned excrementitious substances, that, on this
account, they abstain not only from most sorts of pulse, and from the flesh of sheep and
swine, but likewise, in their more solemn purifications, they even exclude salt from their
meals. This they do for many reasons, but chiefly because it whets their appetites, and
incites them to eat more than they otherwise would. Now, as to salt being accounted
impure because, as Aristagoras tells us, many little insects are caught in it whilst it is
hardening, and are thereby killed therein-this view is wholly trifling and absurd. From
these same motives also they give the Apis Bull his water from a well specially set apart
for the purpose, 270 and they prevent him altogether from drinking of the Nile, not
indeed that they regard the river as impure, and polluted because of the crocodiles
which are in it, as some pretend, for there is nothing which the Egyptians hold in greater
veneration than the Nile, but because its waters are observed to be particularly
nourishing 271 and fattening. And they strive to prevent fatness in Apis as well as in
themselves, for they are anxious that their bodies should sit as light and easy about their
souls as possible, and that their mortal part should not oppress and weigh down the
divine and immortal.
It is quite possible that Apis drank from a special well, but the water in it certainly came from the Nile by
infiltration. In all the old wells at Memphis the water sinks as the Nile sinks, and rises as it rises.
271 On account of the large amount of animal matter contained in it.
110 Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
SECTI ON VI
VI. The priests of the Sun at Heliopolis 272 never carry wine into their temples, for they
regard it as indecent for those who are devoted to the service of any god to indulge in
the drinking of wine whilst they are under the immediate inspection of their Lord and
King. 273 The priests of the other deities are not so scrupulous in this respect, for they
use it, though sparingly. During their more solemn purifications they abstain from wine
wholly, and they give themselves up entirely to study and meditation, and to the hearing
and teaching of those divine truths which treat of the divine nature. Even the kings, who
are likewise priests, only partake of wine in the measure which is prescribed for them in
the sacred books, as we are told by Hecataeus. This custom was only introduced during
the reign of Psammetichus, and before that time they drank no wine at all. If they used it
at any time in pouring out libations to the gods, it was not because they looked upon it
as being acceptable to them for its own sake, but they poured it out over their altars as
the blood of their enemies who had in times past fought against them. For they believe
the vine to have first sprung out of the earth after it was fattened by the bodies of those
who fell in the wars against the gods. And this, they say, is the reason why drinking its
juice in great quantities makes men mad and beside themselves, filling them, as it were,
with the blood of their own ancestors. These things are thus related by Eudoxus in the
second book of his Travels, as he had them from the priests themselves.
Called ANU in the Egyptian texts; it was the centre of the great solar cult of Egypt. It is the "On" of the Bible.
273 The Sun-god was called Ra.
1 1 1 Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
SECTI ON VI I
VII. As to sea-fish, the Egyptians in general do not abstain from all kinds of them, but
some from one sort and some from another. Thus, for example, the inhabitants of
Oxyrhynchus 274 will not touch any that have been taken with an angle; for as they pay
especial reverence to the Oxyrhynchus Fish, 275 from whence they derive their name,
they are afraid lest perhaps the hook may be defiled by having been at some time or
other employed in catching their favourite fish. The people of Syene 276 in like manner
abstain from the Phagrus Fish 2 277 ; for as this fish is observed by them to make his first
appearance upon their coasts just as the Nile begins to overflow, they pay special regard
to these voluntary messengers as it were of that most joyful news. The priests, indeed,
entirely abstain from all sorts in general. 278 Therefore, upon the ninth day of the first
month, when all the rest of the Egyptians are obliged by their religion to eat a fried fish
before the door of their houses, they only burn them, not tasting them at all. For this
custom they give two reasons: the first and most curious, as falling in with the sacred
philosophy of Osiris and Typhon, will be more properly explained in another place. The
second, that which is most obvious and manifest, is that fish is neither a dainty nor even
a necessary kind of food, a fact which seems to be abundantly confirmed by the writings
of Homer, who never makes either the delicate Pheacians or the Ithacans (though both
peoples were islanders) to feed upon fish, nor even the companions of Ulysses during
their long and most tedious voyage, till they were reduced thereto by extreme necessity.
In short, they consider the sea to have been forced out of the earth by the power of fire,
and therefore to lie out of nature's confines; and they regard it not as a part of the
world, or one of the elements, but as a preternatural and corrupt and morbid
Probably the pike, or "fighting fish."
in Egyptian, SUNU, the Seweneh of the Bible, and the modern Aswan.
A kind of bream, the an of the Egyptian texts.
Compare Chap. CXXXVIIA of the Book of the Dead. "And behold, these things shall be performed by a man
who is clean, and is ceremonially pure, one who hath eaten neither meat nor fish, and who hath not had
intercourse with women" (II. 52, 53).
112 Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
SECTI ON VI 1 1
VIII. This much may be depended upon: the, religious rites and ceremonies of the
Egyptians were never instituted upon irrational grounds, never built upon mere fable
and superstition, but founded with a view to promote the morality and happiness of
those who were to observe them, or at least to preserve the memory of some valuable
piece of history, or to represent to us some of the phenomena of nature. As concerning
the abhorrence which is expressed for onions, it is wholly improbable that this
detestation is owing to the loss of Diktys, who, whilst he was under the guardianship of
Isis, is supposed to have fallen into the river and to have been drowned as he was
reaching after a bunch of them. No, the true reason of their abstinence from onions is
because they are observed to flourish most and to be in the greatest vigour at the wane
of the moon, and also because they are entirely useless to them either in their
feasts 279 or in their times of abstinence and purification, for in the former case they
make tears come from those who use them, and in the latter they create thirst. For much
the same reason they likewise look upon the pig as an impure animal, and to be avoided,
observing it to be most apt to engender upon the decrease of the moon, and they think
that those who drink its milk are more subject to leprosy and such-like cutaneous
diseases than others. The custom of abstaining from the flesh of the pig 280 is not always
observed, for those who sacrifice a sow to Typhon once a year, at the full moon,
afterwards eat its flesh.
The reason they give for this practice is this: Typhon being in pursuit of this animal at
that season of the moon, accidentally found the wooden chest wherein was deposited
the body of Osiris, which he immediately pulled to pieces. This story, however, is not
generally admitted, there being some who look upon it, as they do many other relations
of the same kind, as founded upon some mistake or misrepresentation. All agree,
however, in saying that so great was the abhorrence which the ancient Egyptians
expressed for whatever tended to promote luxury, expense, and voluptuousness, that in
order to expose it as much as possible they erected a column in one of the temples of
Thebes, full of curses against their king Meinis, who first drew them off from their
former frugal and parsimonious course of life. The immediate cause for the erection of
the pillar is thus given: Technatis, 281 the father of Bocchoris, leading an army against
the Arabians, and his baggage and provisions not coming up to him as soon as he
expected, was therefore obliged to eat some of the very poor food which was obtainable,
and having eaten, he lay down on the bare ground and slept very soundly. This gave him
a great affection for a mean and frugal diet, and induced him to curse the memory of
279 Bunches of onions were offered to the dead at all periods of Egyptian history, and they were regarded as
typical of the "white teeth" of Horus. The onion was largely used in medicine.
280 The pig was associated with Set, or Typhon, and the black variety was specially abominated because it was a
black pig which struck Horus in the eye, and damaged it severely. See Book of the Dead, Chap. CXI I .
281 In Egyptian, TAFNEKHT, the first king of the XXIVth Dynasty.
Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
Meinis, and with the permission of the priests he made these curses public by cutting
them upon a pillar . 282
An unlikely story, for Tafnekht had no authority at Thebes.
114 Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
IX. Now, the kings of Egypt were always chosen either out of the soldiery or priesthood,
the former order being honoured and respected for its valour, and the latter for its
wisdom. If the choice fell upon a soldier, he was immediately initiated into the order of
priests, and by them instructed in their abstruse and hidden philosophy, a philosophy
for the most part involved in fable and allegory, and exhibiting only dark hints and
obscure resemblances of the truth. This the priesthood hints to us in many instances,
particularly by the sphinxes, which they seem to have placed designedly before their
temples as types of the enigmatical nature of their theology. To this purpose, likewise, is
that inscription which they have engraved upon the base of the statue of Athene 283 at
Sais, whom they identify with Isis: "I am everything that has been, that is, and that shall
be: and my veil no man hath raised." In like manner the word "Amoun," or as it is
expressed in the Greek language, "Ammon," which is generally looked upon as the
proper name of the Egyptian Zeus, is interpreted by Manetho 284 the Sebennite 285 to
signify "concealment" or "something which is hidden." 286 Hecataeus of Abdera indeed
tells us that the Egyptians make use of this term when they call out to one another. If
this be so, then their invoking Amoun is the same thing as calling upon the supreme
being, whom they believe to be "hidden" and "concealed" in the universal nature, to
appear and manifest itself to them. So cautious and reserved was the Egyptian wisdom
in those things which appertained to religion.
283 The Egyptian goddess Net, in Greek Nr|L0, the great goddess of Sa is, in the Western Delta. She was self
existent, and produced her son, the Sun-god, without union with a god. In an address to her, quoted by Mallet
( Culte de Neit, p. 140), are found the words, "thy garment hath not been unloosed," thus Plutarch's quotation
284 He compiled a History of Egypt for Ptolemy II., and flourished about B.C. 270; only the King-List from this
work is preserved.
285 He was a native of the town of Sebennytus.
286 Amen means "hidden," and AMEN is the "hidden god."
Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
X. And this is still farther evinced from those voyages which have been made into Egypt
by the wisest men among the Greeks, namely, by Solo, Thales Plato, Eudoxus,
Pythagoras, and, as some say, even by Lycurgus himself, on purpose to converse with
the priests. And we are also told that Eudoxus was a disciple of Chnouphis the
Memphite, Solo of Sonchis the Saite, and Pythagoras of Oinuphis the Heliopolite. But
none of these philosophers seems either to have been more admired and in greater
favour with the priests, or to have paid a more especial regard to their method of
philosophising, than this last named, who has particularly imitated their mysterious and
symbolical manner in his own writings, and like them conveyed his doctrines to the
world in a kind of riddle. For many of the precepts of Pythagoras come nothing short of
the hieroglyphical representations themselves, such as, "eat not in a chariot," "sit not on
a measure (choenix)," "plant not a palm-tree," and "stir not the fire with a sword in the
house." And I myself am of the opinion that, when the Pythagoreans appropriated the
names of several of the gods to particular numbers, as that of Apollo to the unit, of
Artemis to the duad, of Athene to the seven, and of Poseidon to the first cube, in this
they allude to something which the founder of their sect saw in the Egyptian temples, or
to some ceremonies performed in them, or to some symbols there exhibited. Thus, their
great king and lord Osiris is represented by the hieroglyphics for an eye and a
sceptre, 287 the name itself signifying "many-eyed," as we are told by some 288 who
would derive it from the words os, 289 "many," and iri, 290 an "eye," which have this
meaning in the Egyptian language. Similarly, because the heavens are eternal and are
never consumed or wax old, they represent them by a heart with a censer placed under
The oldest form of the name is AS-AR,
; the first sign, , is a throne, and the
-< 2 >-
second, , is an eye, but the exact meaning represented by the two signs is not known. In late times
a sceptre, took the place of the throne, but only because of its phonetic value as or us. Thus we have the
This is a mistake.
290 . p , . | I _ . I HAT „ „
in Egyptian, art, Coptic , eye.
Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
it. Much in the same way are those statues of the Judges at Thebes without hands, and
their chief, or president, is represented with his eyes turned downwards, which signifies
that justice ought not to be obtainable by bribes, nor guided by favour or affection. Of a
like nature is the Beetle which we see engraven upon the seals of the soldiers, for there
is no such thing as a female beetle of this species; for they are all males, and they
propagate their kind by casting their seed into round balls of dirt, which afford not only
a proper place wherein the young may be hatched, but also nourishment for them as
soon as they are born.
Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
XI. When you hear, therefore, the mythological tales which the Egyptians tell of their
gods, their wanderings, their mutilations, and many other disasters which befell them,
remember what has just been said, and be assured that nothing of what is thus told you
is really true, or ever happened in fact. For can it be imagined that it is the dog 291 itself
which is reverenced by them under the name of Hermes 292 ? It is the qualities of this
animal, his constant vigilance, and his acumen in distinguishing his friends from his
foes, which have rendered him, as Plato says, a meet emblem of that god who is the chief
patron of intelligence. Nor can we imagine that they think that the sun, like a newly born
babe, springs up every day out of a lily. It is quite true that they represent the rising sun
in this manner, 293 but the reason is because they wish to indicate thereby that it is
moisture to which we owe the first kindling of this luminary. In like manner, the cruel
and bloody king of Persia, Ochus, who not only put to death great numbers of the
people, but even slew the Apis Bull himself, and afterwards served him up in a banquet
to his friends, is represented by them by a sword, and by this name he is still to be found
in the catalogue of their kings. This name, therefore, does not represent his person, but
indicates his base and cruel qualities, which were best suggested by the picture of an
instrument of destruction. If, therefore, 0 Clea, you will hear and entertain the story of
these gods from those who know how to explain it consistently with religion and
philosophy, if you will steadily persist in the observance of all these holy rites which the
laws require of you, and are moreover fully persuaded that to form true notions of the
divine nature is more acceptable to them than any sacrifice or mere external act of
worship can be, you will by this means be entirely exempt from any danger of falling
into superstition, an evil no less to be avoided than atheism itself.
The animal here referred to must be the dog-headed ape, ' , which we see in pictures
Judgment assisting Thoth to weigh the heart of the dead. This dog-headed ape is a wonderfully
creature, and its weird cleverness is astonishing.
292 The Egyptian Tehuti, or Thoth.
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XII. Now, the story of Isis and Osiris, its most insignificant and superfluous parts being
omitted, runs thus:~
The goddess Rhea, 294 they say, having accompanied with Kronos 295 by stealth, was
discovered by Helios 296 who straightway cursed her, and declared that she should not
be delivered in any month or year. Hermes, however, 'being also in love with the same
goddess, in return for the favours which he had received from her, went and played at
dice with Selene, 297 and won from her the seventieth part of each day. These parts he
joined together and made from them five complete days, and he added them to the three
hundred and sixty days of which the year formerly consisted. These five days are to this
day called the "Epagomenae," 298 that is, the superadded, and they are observed by them
as the birthdays of their gods . 299 On the first of these, they say, Osiris was born, and as
he came into the world a voice was heard saying, "The Lord of All 300 is born." Some
relate the matter in a different way, and say that a certain person named Pamyles, as he
was fetching water from the temple of Dios at Thebes, heard a voice commanding him to
proclaim aloud that the good and great king Osiris was then born, and that for this
reason Kronos committed the education of the child to him, and that in memory of this
event the Pamylia were afterwards instituted, which closely resemble the Phallephoria
or Priapeia of the Greeks. Upon the second of these days was born Aroueris , 301 whom
some call Apollo, and others the Elder Horus. Upon the third day Typhon was born, who
came into the world neither at the proper time nor by the right way, but he forced a
passage through a wound which he made in his mother's side. Upon the fourth day Isis
was born, in the marshes of Egypt, 302 and upon the fifth day Nephthys, whom some call
Teleute, or Aphrodite, or Nike, was born. As regards the fathers of these children, the
first two are said to have been begotten by Helios, Isis by Hermes, and Typhon and
Nephthys by Kronos. Therefore, since the third of the superadded days was the birthday
of Typhon, the kings considered it to be unlucky, 303 and in consequence they neither
transacted any business in it, nor even suffered themselves to take any refreshment
l.e., NUT, the Sky-goddess.
295 l.e., KEB, the Earth-god.
296 l.e., RA.
297 l.e., AAH.
298 In Egyptian, "the five days over the year,"
299 In Egyptian thus:-
I. Birthday of Osiris,
II. Birthday of Horus,
III. Birthday of Set,
IV. Birthday of Isis,
V. Birthday of Nephthys
300 One of the chief titles of Osiris was Neb ertcher, i.e., "lord to the uttermost limit of everything.
301 l.e., Heru-ur, "Horus the Elder."
302 It was Horus, son of Isis, who was born in the marshes of Egypt.
303 This day is described as unlucky in the hieroglyphic texts.
Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
until the evening. They further add that Typhon married Nephthys, 304 and that Isis and
Osiris, having a mutual affection, enjoyed each other in their mother's womb before
they were born, and that from this commerce sprang Aroueris, whom the Egyptians
likewise call Horus the Elder, and the Greeks Apollo.
304 Set and Nephthys are regarded as husband and wife in the texts; their offspring was Anubis, Anpu.
1 20 Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
XIII. Osiris having become king of Egypt, applied himself to civilizing his countrymen by
turning them from their former indigent and barbarous course of life. He taught them
how to cultivate and improve the fruits of the earth, and he gave them a body of laws
whereby to regulate their conduct, and instructed them in the reverence and worship
which they were to pay to the gods. With the same good disposition he afterwards
travelled over the rest of the world, inducing the people everywhere to submit to his
discipline, not indeed compelling them by force of arms, but persuading them to yield to
the strength of his reasons, which were conveyed to them in the most agreeable
manner, in hymns and songs, accompanied with instruments of music. From this last
circumstance the Greeks identified him with their Dionysos, or Bacchus. During the
absence of Osiris from his kingdom, Typhon had no opportunity of making any
innovations in the state, Isis being extremely vigilant in the government, and always
upon her guard. After his return, however, having first persuaded seventy-two other
people to join with him in the conspiracy, together with a certain queen of Ethiopia
called Aso, who chanced to be in Egypt at that time, he formed a crafty plot against him.
For having privily taken the measure of the body of Osiris, he caused a chest to be made
of exactly the same size, and it was very beautiful and highly decorated. This chest he
brought into a certain banqueting room, where it was greatly admired by all who were
present, and Typhon, as if in jest, promised to give it to that man whose body when tried
would be found to fit it. Thereupon the whole company, one after the other, went into it,
but it did not fit any of them; last of all Osiris himself lay down in it. Thereupon all the
conspirators ran to the chest, and clapped the cover upon it, and then they fastened it
down with nails on the outside, and poured melted lead over it. They next took the chest
to the river, which carried it to the sea through the Tanaitic mouth of the Nile; and for
this reason this mouth of the: Nile is still held in the utmost abomination by the
Egyptians, and is never mentioned by them except with marks of detestation. These
things, some say, took place on the seventeenth day of the month of Hathor, when the
sun was in Scorpio, in the twenty-eighth year of the reign of Osiris, though others tell us
that this was the year of his life and not of his reign.
121 Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
XIV. The first who had knowledge of the accident which had befallen their king were the
Pans and Satyrs, who inhabited the country round about Chemmis, 305 and they having
informed the people about it, gave the first occasion to the name of Panic Terrors, which
has ever since been made use of to signify any sudden fright or amazement of a
multitude. As soon as the report reached Isis, she immediately cut off one of the locks of
her hair, and put on mourning apparel in that very place where she happened to be; for
this reason the place has ever since been called "Koptos," or the "city of mourning,"
though some are of opinion that this word rather signifies "deprivation." After this she
wandered round about through the country, being full of disquietude and perplexity,
searching for the chest, and she inquired of every person she met, including some
children whom she saw, whether they knew what was become of it. Now, it so happened
that these children had seen what Typhon's accomplices had done with the body, and
they accordingly told her by what mouth of the Nile it had been conveyed to the sea. For
this reason the Egyptians look upon children as endued with a kind of faculty of
divining, and in consequence of this notion are very curious in observing the accidental
prattle which they have with one another whilst they are at play, especially if it be in a
sacred place, forming omens and presages from it. Isis meanwhile having been informed
that Osiris, deceived by her sister Nephthys, who was in love with him, had unwittingly
enjoyed her instead of herself, as she concluded from the melilot-garland which he had
left with her, made it her business likewise to search out the child, the fruit of this
unlawful commerce (for her sister, dreading the anger of her husband Typhon, had
exposed it as soon as it was born). Accordingly, after much pains and difficulty, by
means of some dogs that conducted her to the place where it was, she found it and bred
it up; and in process of time it became her constant guard and attendant, and obtained
the name of Anubis, and it is thought that it watches and guards the gods as dogs do
I In Egyptian, KHEBT, in the VII Ith nome of Lower Egypt.
1 22 Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
SECTI ON XV
XV. At length Isis received more particular news that the chest had been carried by the
waves of the sea to the coast of Byblos, and there gently lodged in the branches of a
bush of tamarisk, which in a short time had grown up into a large and beautiful tree, and
had grown round the chest and enclosed it on every side so completely that it was not to
be seen. Moreover, the king of the country, amazed at its unusual size, had cut the tree
down, and made that part of the trunk wherein the chest was concealed into a pillar to
support the roof of his house. These things, they say, having been made known to Isis in
an extraordinary manner by the report of demons, she immediately went to Byblos,
where, setting herself down by the side of a fountain, she refused to speak to anybody
except the queen's women who chanced to be there. These, however, she saluted and
caressed in the kindest manner possible, plaiting their hair for them, and transmitting
into them part of that wonderful odour which issued from her own body. This raised a
great desire in the queen their mistress to see the stranger who had this admirable
faculty of transfusing so fragrant a smell from herself into the hair and skin of other
people. She therefore sent for her to court, and, after a further acquaintance with her,
made her nurse to one of her sons. N ow, the name of the king who reigned at this time
at Byblos was Melkander (Melkarth?), and that of his wife was Astarte, or, according to
others, Saosis, though some call her Nemanoun, which answers to the Greek name
1 23 Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
SECTI ON XVI
XVI. Isis nursed the child by giving it her finger to suck instead of the breast. She
likewise put him each night into the fire in order to consume his mortal part, whilst,
having transformed herself into a swallow, she circled round the pillar and bemoaned
her sad fate. This she continued to do for some time, till the queen, who stood watching
her, observing the child to be all of a flame, cried out, and thereby deprived him of some
of that immortality which would otherwise have been conferred upon him. The goddess
then made herself known, and asked that the pillar which supported the roof might be
given to her. Having taken the pillar down, she cut it open easily, and having taken out
what she wanted, she wrapped up the remainder of the trunk in fine linen, and having
poured perfumed oil over it, she delivered it again into the hands of the king and queen.
Now, this piece of wood is to this day preserved in the temple, and worshipped by the
people of Byblos. When this was done, Isis threw herself upon the chest, and made at
the same time such loud and terrible cries of lamentation over it, that the younger of the
king's sons who heard her was frightened out of his life. But the elder of them she took
with her, and set sail with the chest for Egypt. Now, it being morning the river Phaedrus
sent forth a keen and chill air, and becoming angry she dried up its current.
1 24 Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
SECTI ON XVI I
XVII. At the first place where she stopped, and when she believed that she was alone,
she opened the chest, and laying her face upon that of her dead husband, she embraced
him and wept bitterly. Then, seeing that the little boy had silently stolen up behind her,
and had found out the reason of her grief, she turned upon him suddenly, and, in her
anger, gave him so fierce and terrible a look that he died of fright immediately. Others
say that his death did not happen in this manner, but, as already hinted, that he fell into
the sea. Afterwards he received the greatest honour on account of the goddess, for this
Maneros, whom the Egyptians so frequently call upon at their banquets, is none other
than he. This story is contradicted by those who tell us that the true name of this child
was Palaestinus, or Pelusius, and that the city of this name was built by the goddess in
memory of him. And they further add that this Maneros is thus honoured by the
Egyptians at their feasts because he was the first who invented music. Others again
state that Maneros is not the name of any particular person, but a were customary form
of complimentary greeting which the Egyptians use towards each other at their more
solemn feasts and banquets, meaning no more by it than to wish "that what they were
then about might prove fortunate and happy to them." This is the true import of the
word. In like manner they say that the human skeleton which is carried about in a box
on festal occasions, and shown to the guests, is not designed, as some imagine, to
represent the particular misfortunes of Osiris, but rather to remind them of their
mortality, and thereby to excite them freely to make use of and to enjoy the good things
which are set before them, seeing that they must quickly become such as they there
saw. This is the true reason for introducing the skeleton at their banquets. But to
proceed with the narrative.
1 25 Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
SECTI ON XVI 1 1
XVIII. When Isis had come to her son Horus, who was being reared at Buto, 306 she
deposited the chest in a remote and unfrequented place. One night, however, when
Typhon was hunting by the light of the moon, he came upon it by chance, and
recognizing the body which was enclosed in it, he tore it into several pieces, fourteen
307 in all, and scattered them in different places up and down the country. When Isis
knew what had been done, she set out in search of the scattered portions of her
husband's body; and in order to pass more easily through the lower, marshy parts of the
country, she made use of a boat made of the papyrus plant. For this reason, they say,
either fearing the anger of the goddess, or else venerating the papyrus, the crocodile
never injures anyone who travels in this sort of vessel . 308 And this, they say, hath given
rise to the report that there are very many different sepulchres of Osiris in Egypt, for
wherever Isis found one of the scattered portions of her husband's body, there she
buried it. Others, however, contradict this story, and tell us that the variety of
sepulchres of Osiris was due rather to the policy of the queen, who, instead of the real
body, as she pretended, presented to these cities only an image of her husband. This she
did in order to increase the honours which would by these means be paid to his
memory, and also to defeat Typhon, who, if he were victorious in his fight against Horus
in which be was about to engage, would search for the body of Osiris, and being
distracted by the number of sepulchres would despair of ever being able to find the true
one. We are told, moreover, that notwithstanding all her efforts, Isis was never able to
discover the phallus of Osiris, which, having been thrown into the Nile immediately
upon its separation from the rest of the body, 309 had been devoured by the Lepidotus,
the Phagrus, and the Oxyrhynchus, fish which above all others, for this reason, the
Egyptians have in more especial avoidance. In order, however, to make some amends
for the loss, Isis consecrated the phallus made in imitation of it, and instituted a solemn
festival to its memory, which is even to this day observed by the Egyptians.
In Egyptian, the double city Pe-Tep. See the texts from the Metternich Stele printed in this volume.
307 The fourteen members are: head, feet, bones, arms, heart, interior, tongue, eyes, fists, fingers, back, ears,
loins, and body. Some of the lists in Egyptian add the face of a ram and the hair. The cities in which Isis buried
the portions of his body are: Koptos, Philae in Elephantine, Herakleopolis Magna, Kusae, Heliopolis, Diospolis
of Lower Egypt, Letopolis, Sai's, Hermopolis p. 225 of Lower Egypt, Athribis, Aq (Schedia), Ab in the Libyan
nome, Netert, Apis.
308 Moses was laid in an ark of bulrushes, i.e., papyrus, and was found uninjured.
309 We meet with a similar statement in the Tale of the Two Brothers, where we are told that the younger
brother, having declared his innocence to the elder brother, out off his phallus and threw it into the river,
where it was devoured by the naru fish.
Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
XIX. After these things Osiris returned from the other world, and appeared to his son
Horus, and encouraged him to fight, and at the same time instructed him in the exercise
of arms. He then asked him what he thought was the most glorious action a man could
perform, to which Horus replied, "To revenge the injuries offered to his father 310 and
mother." Osiris then asked him what animal he thought most serviceable to a soldier,
and Horus replied, "A horse." On this Osiris wondered, and he questioned him further,
asking him why he preferred a horse to a lion, and Horus replied, "Though the lion is the
more serviceable creature to one who stands in need of help, yet is the horse more
useful in overtaking and cutting off a flying enemy." 311 These replies caused Osiris to
rejoice greatly, for they showed him that his son was sufficiently prepared for his
We are, moreover, told that amongst the great numbers who were continually deserting
from Typhon's party was his concubine Thoueris, 312 and that a serpent which pursued
her as she was coming over to Horus was slain by his soldiers. The memory of this
action is, they say, still preserved in that cord which is thrown into the midst of their
assemblies, and then chopped in pieces.
Afterwards a battle took place between Horus and Typhon, which lasted many days, but
Horus was at length victorious, and Typhon was taken prisoner. He was delivered over
into the custody of Isis, who, instead of putting him to death, loosed his fetters and set
him free. This action of his mother incensed Horus to such a degree that he seized her,
and pulled the royal crown off her head; but Hermes came forward, and set upon her
head the head of an ox instead of a helmet. 313 After this Typhon accused Horus of
illegitimacy, but, by the assistance of Hermes, his legitimacy was fully established by a
decree of the gods themselves. 314
After this two other battles were fought between Horus and Typhon, and in both
Typhon was defeated. Moreover, Isis is said to have had union with Osiris after his
The texts give as a very common title of Horus, "Horus, the avenger of his father."
311 There is no evidence that the Egyptians employed the horse in war before the XVIIIth Dynasty, a fact which
proves that the dialogue here given is an invention of a much later date than the original legend of Osiris.
312 In Egyptian, TA-URT, the hippopotamus goddess.
313 According to the legend given in the Fourth Sallier Papyrus, the fight between Horus and Set began on the
26th day of the month of Thoth, and lasted three days and three nights. It was fought in or near the hall of the
lords of Kher-aha, i.e., near Heliopolis, and in the presence of Isis, who seems to have tried to spare both her
brother Set and her son Horus. For some reason Horus became enraged with his mother, and attacking her like
a "leopard of the south," he cut off the head of Isis. Thereupon Thoth came forward, and using words of
power, created a substitute in the form of a cow's head, and placed it on her body (Sallier, iv., p. 2; see Select
Papyri, pi. cxlv.).
314 Horus inherited the throne by his father's will, a fact which is so often emphasized in the texts that it seems
there may be some ground for Plutarch's view.
Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
death, 315 and she brought forth Harpokrates, 316 who came into the world before his
time, and was lame in his lower limbs.
315 This view is confirmed by the words in the hymn to Osiris, "she moved the inactivity of the Still-Heart
(Osiris), she drew from him his essence, she made an heir."
316 In Egyptian, HERU-PA-KHART, "Horus the Child."
Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
SECTI ON XX
XX. Such then are the principal circumstances of this famous story, the more harsh and
shocking parts of it, such as the cutting up of Horus and the beheading of Isis, being
omitted. Now, if such could be supposed to be the real sentiments of the Egyptians
concerning those divine Beings whose most distinguishing characteristics are happiness
and immortality, or could it be imagined that they actually believed what they thus tell
us ever to have actually taken place, I should not need to warn you, 0 Clea, you who are
already sufficiently averse to such impious and absurd notions of the God, I should not, I
say, have need to caution you, to testify your abhorrence of them, and, as Aeschylus
expresses it, "to spit and wash your mouth" after the recital of them. In the present case,
however, it is not so. And I doubt not that you yourself are conscious of the difference
between this history and those light and idle fictions which the poets and other writers
of fables, like spiders, weave and spin out of their own imaginations, without having any
substantial ground or firm foundation to work upon. There must have been some real
distress, some actual calamity, at the bottom as the ground-work of the narration; for, as
mathematicians assure us, the rainbow is nothing else but a variegated image of the sun,
thrown upon the sight by the reflection of his beams from the clouds; and thus ought we
to look upon the present story as the representation, or rather reflection, of something
real as its true cause. And this notion is still farther suggested to us as well by that
solemn air of grief and sadness which appears in their sacrifices, as by the very form
and arrangement of their temples, which extend into long avenues and open aisles in
some portions, 317 and in others retreating into dark and gloomy chapels which
resembled the underground vaults which are allotted to the dead. That the history has a
substantial foundation is proved by the opinion which obtains generally concerning the
sepulchres of Osiris. There are many places wherein his body is said to have been
deposited, and among these are Abydos and Memphis, both of which are said to contain
his body. It is for this reason, they say, that the richer and more prosperous citizens
wish to be buried in the former of these cities, being ambitious of lying, as it were, in the
grave with Osiris. 318 The title of Memphis to be regarded as the grave of Osiris seems to
Plutarch refers to the long colonnaded courts which extend in a straight line to the sanctuary, which often
contains more than one shrine, and to the chambers wherein temple properties, vestments, &c., were kept.
318 In what city the cult of Osiris originated is not known, but it is quite certain that before the end of the Vlth
Dynasty Abydos became the centre of his worship, and that he dispossessed the local god An-Her in the
affections of the people. Tradition affirmed that the head of Osiris was preserved at Abydos in a box, and a
picture of it, became the symbol of the city. At Abydos a sort of miracle play, in which all the
sufferings and resurrection of Osiris were commemorated, was performed annually, and the raising up of a
model of his body, and the placing of his head upon it, were the culminating ceremonies. At Abydos was the
famous shaft into which offerings were cast for transmission to the dead in the Other World, and through the
Gap in the hills close by souls were believed to set out on their journey thither. One tradition places the p.
231 Elysian Fields in the neighbourhood of Abydos. A fine stone bier, a restoration probably of the XXVIth
Dynasty, which represented the original bier of Osiris, was discovered there by M. Amelineau. It is now in the
Egyptian Museum at Cairo.
Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
rest upon the fact that the Apis Bull, who is considered to be the image of the soul of
Osiris, is kept in that city for the express purpose that it may be as near his body as
possible. 319 Others again tell us that the interpretation of the name Memphis 320 is "the
haven of good men," and that the true sepulchre of Osiris lies in that little island which
the Nile makes at Philae. 321 This island is, they say, inaccessible, and neither bird can
alight on it, nor fish swim near it, except at the times when the priests go over to it from
the mainland to solemnize their customary rites to the dead, and to crown his tomb
with flowers, which, they say, is overshadowed by the branches of a tamarisk-tree, the
size of which exceeds that of an olive-tree.
Apis is called the "life of Osiris," , and on the death of the Bull, its soul went to heaven and
joined itself to that of Osiris, and it formed with him the dual-god Asar-Hep, i.e., Osiris-Apis, or Sarapis. The
° it o*o
famous Serapeum at Memphis was called
320 In Egyptian, MEN-NEFER, i.e., "fair haven."
321 Osiris and Isis were worshipped at Philae until the reign of Justinian, when his general, Narses, closed the
temple and carried off the statues of the gods to Constantinople, where they were probably melted down.
Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
SECTI ON XXI
XXI. Eudoxus indeed asserts that, although there are many pretended sepulchres of
Osiris in Egypt, the, place where his body actually lies is Busiris, 322 where likewise he
was born. 323 As to Taphosiris, there is no need to mention it particularly, for its very
name indicates its claim to be the tomb of Osiris. There are likewise other
circumstances in the Egyptian ritual which hint to us the reality upon which this history
is grounded, such as their cleaving the trunk of a tree, their wrapping it up in linen
which they tear in pieces for that purpose, and the libations of oil which they afterwards
pour upon it; but these I do not insist on, because they are intermixed with such of their
mysteries as may not be revealed.
In Egyptian, Pa-Asar-neb-Tetu, "the house of Osiris, the lord of Tetu." In the temple of Neb-Sekert, the
backbone of the god was preserved, according to one text, but another says it was his jaws(?) and interior.
323 This view represents a late tradition, or at all events one which sprang up after the decay of Abydos.
1 31 Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
SECTI ON XXI I FI RST EXPLANATI ON OF THE STORY
XXII. Now as to those who, from many things of this kind, some of which are proclaimed
openly, and others are darkly hinted at in their religious institutions, would conclude
that the whole story h no other than a mere commemoration of the various actions of
their kings and other great men, who, by reason of their excellent virtue and the
mightiness of their power, added to their other titles the honour of divinity, though they
afterwards fell into many and grievous calamities, those, I say, who would in this
manner account for the various scenes above-mentioned, must be owned indeed to
make use of a very plausible method of eluding such difficulties as may arise about this
subject, and ingeniously enough to transfer the most shocking parts of it from the divine
to the human nature. Moreover, it must be admitted that such a solution is not entirely
destitute of any appearance of historical evidence for its support. For when the
Egyptians themselves tell us that Hermes had one hand shorter than another, that
Typhon was of red complexion, Horus fair, and Osiris black, does not this show that they
were of the human species, and subject to the same accidents as all other men? 324 Nay,
they go farther, and even declare the particular work in which each was engaged whilst
alive. Thus they say that Osiris was a general, that Canopus, from whom the star took its
name, was a pilot, and that the ship which the Greeks call Argo, being made in imitation
of the ship of Osiris, was, in honour of him, turned into a constellation and placed near
Orion and the Dog-star, the former being sacred to Horus and the latter to Isis.
Red is the colour attributed to all fiends in the Egyptian texts. One of the forms of Horus is described as
being "blue-eyed," and the colour of the face of Osiris is often green, and sometimes black.
1 32 Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
SECTI ON XXI 1 1
XXIII. But I am much afraid that to give in to this explanation of the story will be to move
things which ought not to be moved; and not only, as Simonides says, "to declare war
against all antiquity," but likewise against whole families and nations who are fully
possessed with the belief in the divinity of these beings. And it would be no less than
dispossessing those great names of their heaven, and bringing them down to the earth.
It would be to shake and loosen a worship and faith which have been firmly settled in
nearly all mankind from their infancy. It would be to open a wide door for atheism to
enter in at, and to encourage the attempts of those who would humanize the divine
nature. More particularly it would give a clear sanction and authority to the impostures
of Euhemerus the Messenian, who from mere imagination, and without the least
appearance of truth to support it, has invented a new mythology of his own, asserting
that "all those in general who are called and declared to be gods are none other than so
many ancient generals and sea-captains and kings." Now, he says that he found this
statement written in the Panchaean dialect in letters of gold, though in what part of the
globe his Panchaeans dwell, any more than the Tryphillians, whom he mentions at the
same time with them, he does not inform us. Nor can I learn that any other person,
whether Greek or Barbarian, except himself, has ever yet been so fortunate as to meet
with these imaginary countries.
Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
[In § XXIV. Plutarch goes on to say that the Assyrians commemorate Semiramis, the
Egyptians Sesostris, the Phrygians Manis or Masdis, the Persians Cyrus, and the
Macedonians Alexander, yet these heroes are not regarded as gods by their peoples. The
kings who have accepted the title of gods have afterwards had to suffer the reproach of
vanity and presumption, and impiety and injustice.]
1 34 Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
SECTION XXV SECOND EXPLANATION OF THE STORY
XXV. There is another and a better method which some employ in explaining this story.
They assert that what is related of Typhon, Osiris, and Isis is not to be regarded as the
afflictions of gods, or of mere mortals, but rather as the adventures of certain great
Daemons. These beings, they say, are supposed by some of the wisest of the Greek
philosophers, that is to say, Plato, Pythagoras, Xenocrates, and Chrysippus, in
accordance with what they had learned from ancient theologians, to be stronger and
more powerful than men, and of a nature superior to them. They are, at the same time,
inferior to the pure and unmixed nature of the gods, as partaking of the sensations of
the body, as well as of the perceptions of the soul, and consequently liable to pain as
well as pleasure, and to such other appetites and affections, as flow from their various
combinations. Such affections, however, have a greater power and influence over some
of them than over others, just as there are different degrees of virtue and vice found in
these Daemons as well as in mankind. In like manner, the wars of the Giants and the
Titans which are so much spoken of by the Greeks, the detestable actions of Kronos, the
combats between Apollo and the Python, the flights of Dionysos, and the wanderings of
Demeter, are exactly of the same nature as the adventures of Osiris and Typhon.
Therefore, they all are to be accounted for in the same manner, and every treatise of
mythology will readily furnish us with an abundance of other similar instances. The
same thing may also be affirmed of those other things which are so carefully concealed
under the cover of mysteries and imitations.
1 35 Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
SECTI ON XXVI
[In § XXVI. Plutarch points out that Homer calls great and good men "god-like" and
"God's compeers," but the word Daemon is applied to the good and bad indifferently
(see Odyssey, vi. 12; Iliad, xiii. 810, v. 438, iv. 31, &c.). Plato assigns to the Olympian Gods
good things and the odd numbers, and the opposite to the Daemons. Xenocrates
believed in the existence of a series of strong and powerful beings which take pleasure
in scourgings and fastings, &c. Hesiod speaks of "holy daemons" ( Works and Days, 126)
and "guardians of mankind," and "bestowers of wealth," and these are regarded by Plato
as a "middle order of beings between the gods and men, interpreters of the wills of the
gods to men, and ministering to their wants, carrying the prayers and supplications of
mortals to heaven, and bringing down thence in return oracles and all other blessings of
life." Empedocles thought that the Daemons underwent punishment, and that when
chastened and purified they were restored to their original state.]
Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
SECTI ON XXVI I
[§ XXVII. To this class belonged Typhon, who was punished by Isis, in memory of all she
had done and suffered, she established certain rites and mysteries which were to be
types and images of her deeds, and intended these to incite people to piety, and, to
afford them consolation. Isis and Osiris were translated from good Daemons into gods,
and the honours due to them are rightly of a mixed kind, being those due to gods and
Daemons. Osiris is none other than Pluto, and Isis is not different from Proserpine.]
Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
SECTI ON XXX
[§ XXX. Typhon is held by the Egyptians in the greatest contempt, and they do all they
can to vilify him. The eolour red being associated with him, they treat with contumely
all those who have a ruddy complexion; the ass 325 being usually of a reddish colour, the
men of Koptos are in the habit of sacrificing asses by casting them down precipices. The
inhabitants of Busiris and Lycopolis never use trumpets, because their sounds resemble
the braying of an ass. The cakes which are offered at the festivals during Paoni and
Paopi are stamped with the figure of a fettered ass. The Pythagoreans regarded Typhon
as a daemon, and according to them he was produced in the even number fifty-six; and
Eudoxus says that a figure of fifty-six angles typifies the nature of Typhon.]
325 The ass is associated with Set, or Typhon, in the texts, but on account of his virility he also typifies a form of
the Sun-god. In a hymn the deceased prays, "May I smite the Ass, may I crush the serpent-fiend Sebau," but
the XLth Chapter of the Book of the Dead is entitled, "Chapter of driving back the Eater of the Ass." The
vignette shows us the deceased in the act of spearing a monster serpent which has fastened its jaws in the
back of an ass. In Chapter CXXV. there is a dialogue between the Cat and the Ass.
1 38 Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
SECTI ON XXXI
[§ XXXI. The Egyptians only sacrifice red-coloured bulls, and a single black or white hair
in the animal's head disqualifies it for sacrifice. They sacrifice creatures wherein the
souls of the wicked have been confined, and through this view arose the custom of
cursing the animal to be sacrificed, and cutting off its bead and throwing it into the Nile.
No bullock is sacrificed which has not on it the seal of the priests who were called
"Sealers." The impression from this seal represents a man upon his knees, with his
hands tied behind him, and a sword pointed at his throat. The ass is identified with
Typhon not only because of his colour, but also because of his stupidity and the
sensuality of his disposition. The Persian king Ochus was nicknamed the "Ass," which
made him to say, "This ass shall dine upon your ox," and accordingly he slew Apis.
Typhon is said to have escaped from Horus by a flight of seven days on an ass.]
Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
SECTI ON XXXI I THI RD EXPLANATI ON OF THE STORY
XXXII. Such then are the arguments of those who endeavour to account for the above-
mentioned history of Isis and Osiris upon a supposition that they were of the order of
Daemons; but there are others who pretend to explain it upon other principles, and in
more philosophical manner. To begin, then, with those whose reasoning is the most
simple and obvious. As the Greeks allegorize their Kronos into Time, and their Hera into
Air, and tell us that the birth of Hephaistos is no other but the change of air into fire, so
these philosophers say that by Osiris the Egyptians mean the Nile, by Isis that part of the
country which Osiris, or the Nile, overflows, and by Typhon the sea, which, by receiving
the Nile as it runs into it, does, as it were, tear it into many pieces, and indeed entirely
destroys it, excepting only so much of it as is admitted into the bosom of the earth in its
passage over it, which is thereby rendered fertile. The truth of this explanation is
confirmed, they say, by that sacred dirge which they make over Osiris when they bewail
"him who was born on the right side of the world and who perished on the left." 326 For
it must be observed that the Egyptians look upon the east as the front or face of the
world, 327 upon the north as its right side, 328 and upon the south as its left. 329 As,
therefore, the Nile rises in the south, and running directly northwards is at last
swallowed up by the sea, it may rightly enough be said to be born on the right and to
perish on the left side, This conclusion, they say, is still farther strengthened from that
abhorrence which the priests express towards the sea, as well as salt, which they call
"Typhon's foam." And amongst their prohibitions is one which forbids salt being laid on
their tables. And do they not also carefully avoid speaking to pilots, because this class of
men have much to do with the sea and get their living by it? And this is not the least of
their reasons for the great dislike which they have for fish, and they even make the fish
a symbol of "hatred," as is proved by the pictures which are to be seen on the porch of
the temple of Neith at Sais. The first of these is a child, the second is an old man, the
third is a hawk, and then follow a fish and a hippopotamus. The meaning of all these is
evidently, "0 you who are coming into the world, and you who are going out of it (i.e.,
both young and old), God hateth impudence." For by the child is indicated "all those who
are coming into life"; by the old man, "those who are going out of it"; by the hawk,
Plutarch here refers to Osiris as the Moon, which rises in the West.
According to the texts the front of the world was the south, khent,
and from this word
is formed the verb
In the texts the west is the right side, unemi,
in the texts the east is the left side, abti.
"to sail to the south."
Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
"God"; by the fish, "hatred," on account of the sea, as has been before stated; and by the
hippopotamus, "impudence," this creature being said first to slay his sire, and
afterwards to force his dam . 330 The Pythagoreans likewise may be thought perhaps by
some to have looked upon the sea as impure, and quite different from all the rest of
nature, and that thus much is intended by them when they call it the "tears of Kronos."
Each of these signs,
, except the last, does mean
what Plutarch says it means, but his method of reading them together is wrong, and it proves that he did not
understand that hieroglyphics were used alphabetically as well as ideographically.
141 Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
SECTI ONS XXXI 1 1 AND XXXI V
[§§ XXXIII., XXXIV. Some of the more philosophical priests assert that Osiris does not
symbolize the Nile only, nor Typhon the sea only, but that Osiris represents the
principle and power of moisture in general, and that Typhon represents everything
which is scorching, burning, and fiery, and whatever destroys moisture. Osiris they
believe to have been of a black 331 colour, because water gives a black 2 tinge to
everything with which it is mixed. The Mnevis Bull 332 kept at Heliopolis is, like Osiris,
black in colour, "and even Egypt 333 itself, by reason of the extreme blackness of the soil,
is called by them 'Chemia,' the very name which is given to the black part or pupil of the
eye. 334 It is, moreover, represented by them under the figure of a human heart." The
Sun and Moon are not represented as being drawn about in chariots, but as sailing
round the world in ships, which shows that they owe their motion, support, and
nourishment to the power of humidity. 335 Homer and Thales both learned from Egypt
that "water was the first principle of all things, and the cause of generation." 336 ]
Experiments recently conducted by Lord Rayleigh indicate that the true colour of water is blue.
332 In Egyptian, Nem-ur, or Men-ur, and he was "called the life of Ra."
333 The commonest name of Egypt is KEMT, "black land," as opposed to the reddish-yellow sandy deserts on
each side of the "valley of black mud." The word for "black" is kam.
334 Plutarch seems to have erred here. The early texts call the pupil of the eye "the child in the eye," as did the
Semitic peoples (see my Liturgy of Funerary Offerings, p. 136). The Copts spoke of the "black of the eye,"
derived from the hieroglyphic "darkness," "blackness."
335 There is no support for this view in the texts.
336 It was a very common belief in Egypt that all things arose from the great celestial ocean called Nu, whence
came the Nile.
Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
SECTI ON XXXVI
[§ XXXVI., The Nile and all kinds of moisture are called the "efflux of Osiris." Therefore a
water-pitcher 337 is always carried first in his processions, and the leaf of a fir-tree
represents both Osiris and Egypt. 338 Osiris is the great principle of fecundity, which is
proved by the Pamylia festivals, in which a statue of the god with a triple phallus is
carried about. 339 The three-fold phallus merely signifies any great and indefinite
337 Plutarch refers to the vessel of water, with which the priest sprinkles the ground to purify it.
338 He seems to refer here to the olive- tree: Beqet, "olive land," was one of the names of Egypt.
339 Plutarch seems to be confounding Osiris with Menu, the god of generation, who is generally represented in
an ithyphallic form. The festival of the phallus survived in Egypt until quite recently.
Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
SECTI ON XXXVI 1 1
[§ XXXVIII. The Sun is consecrated to Osiris, and the lion is worshipped, and temples are
ornamented with figures of this animal, because the Nile rises when the sun is in the
constellation of the Lion. Horus, the offspring of Osiris, the Nile, and Isis, the Earth, was
born in the marshes of Buto, because the vapour of damp land destroys drought.
Nephthys, or Teleute, represents the extreme limits of the country and the sea-shore,
that is, barren land. Osiris (i.e., the Nile) overflowed this barren land, and Anubis 340 was
the result. 341 ]
340 The Egyptian ANPU. The texts make one form of him to be the son of Set and Nephthys.
341 Plutarch's explanations in this chapter are unsupported by the texts.
144 Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
[§ XXXIX. In the first part of this chapter Plutarch continues his identification of Typhon
with drought, and his ally Aso, Queen of Ethiopia, he considers to be the Etesian or north
winds, which blow for a long period when the Nile is falling. He goes on to say:--]
As to what they relate of the shutting up of Osiris in a box, this appears to mean the
withdrawal of the Nile to its own bed. This is the more probable as this misfortune is
said to have happened to Osiris in the month of Hathor, precisely at that season of the
year when, upon the cessation of the Etesian or north winds the Nile returns to its own
bed, and leaves the country everywhere bare and naked. At this time also the length of
the nights increases, darkness prevails, whilst light is diminished and overcome. At this
time the priests celebrate doleful rites, and they exhibit as a suitable representation of
the grief of Isis a gilded ox covered with a fine black linen cloth. Now, the ox is regarded
as the living image of Osiris. This ceremony is performed on the seventeenth and three
following days, 342 and they mourn: 1. The falling of the Nile; 2. The cessation of the
north winds; 3. The decrease in the length of the days; 4. The desolate condition of the
land. On the nineteenth of the month Pachons they march in procession to the sea,
whither the priests and other officials carry the sacred chest, wherein is enclosed a
small boat of gold; into this they first pour some water, and then all present cry out with
a loud voice, "Osiris is found." This done, they throw some earth, scent, and spices into
the water, and mix it well together, and work it up into the image of a crescent, which
they afterwards dress in clothes. This shows that they regard the gods as the essence
and power of water and earth.
342 The 17th day is very unlucky; the 18th is very lucky; the 19th and 20th are very unlucky. On the 17th day Isis
and Nephthys made great lamentation for their brother Un-nefer at Sal's; on the 19th no man should leave the
house; and the man born on the 20th would die of the plague.
Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
[§ XL. Though Typhon was conquered by Horus, Isis would not allow him to be
destroyed. Typhon was once master of all Egypt, i.e., Egypt was once covered by the sea,
which is proved by the sea-shells which are dug out of the mines, and are found on the
tops of the hills. The Nile year by year creates new land, and thus drives away the sea
further and further, i.e., Osiris triumphs over Typhon.]
Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
SECTI ONS XLI AND XLI I FOURTH EXPLANATI ON OF THE
[§ XLI. Osiris is the Moon, and Typhon is the Sun; Typhon is therefore called Seth, 343 a
word meaning "violence," "force," &c. Herakles accompanies the Sun, and Hermes the
Moon. In § XLII. Plutarch connects the death-day of Osiris, the seventeenth of Hathor,
with the seventeenth day of the Moon's revolution, when she begins to wane. The age of
Osiris, twenty-eight years, suggests the comparison with the twenty-eight days of the
Moon's revolution. The tree-trunk which is made into the shape of a crescent at the
funeral of Osiris refers to the crescent moon when she wanes. The fourteen pieces into
which Osiris was broken refer to the fourteen days in which the moon wanes.]
which Plutarch seems to connect with set,
Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
[§ XLIII. The height of the Nile in flood at Elephantine is twenty-eight cubits, at Mendes
and Xoi's low Nile is seven cubits, and at Memphis middle Nile is fourteen cubits; these
figures are to be compared with the twenty-eight days of the Moon's revolution, the
seven-day phase of the Moon, and the fourteen days' Moon, or full moon. Apis was
begotten by a ray of light from the Moon, and on the fourteenth day of the month
Phamenoth 344 Osiris entered the Moon. Osiris is the power of the Moon, Isis the
productive faculty in it.]
344 Marked in the papyrus Sallier IV. as a particularly unlucky day.
148 Legends Of The Gods By E.A. Wallis Budge
SECTI ONS XLI V ETC, FI FTH EXPLANATI ON OF THE
[§ XLIV. The philosophers say that the story is nothing but an enigmatical description of
the phenomena of Eclipses. In § XLV. Plutarch discusses the five explanations which he
has described, and begins to state his own views about them. It must be concluded, he
says, that none of these explanations taken by itself contains the true explanation of the
foregoing history, though all of them together do. Typhon means every phase of Nature
which is hurtful and destructive, not only drought, darkness, the sea, &c. It is impossible
that any one cause, be it bad or even good, should be the common principle of all things.
There must be two opposite and quite different and distinct Principles. In § XLVI.
Plutarch compares this view with the Magian belief in Ormazd and Ahriman, the former
springing from light (§ XLVII.), and the latter from darkness. Ormazd made six good
gods, and Ahriman six of a quite contrary nature. Ormazd increased his own bulk three
times, and adorned the heaven with stars, making the Sun to be the guard of the other
stars. He then created twenty-four other gods, and placed them in an egg, and Ahriman
also created twenty-four gods; the latter bored a hole in the shell of the egg and effected
an entrance into it, and thus good and evil became mixed together. In § XLVIII. Plutarch
quotes Empedocles, Anaxagoras, Aristotle, and Plato in support of his hypothesis of the
Two Principles, and refers to Plato's Third Principle. § XLIX. Osiris represents the good
qualities of the universal Soul, and Typhon the bad; Bebo 345 is a malignant being like
Typhon, with whom Manetho identifies him. § L. The ass, crocodile, and hippopotamus
are all associated with Typhon; in the form of a crocodile Typhon escaped from
The cakes offered on the seventh day of the month Tybi have a hippopotamus stamped
on them. § LI. Osiris symbolizes wisdom and power, and Typhon all that is malignant
The remaining sections contain a long series of fanciful statements by Plutarch
concerning the religion and manners and customs of the Egyptians, of which the
Egyptian texts now available give no proofs.
In Egyptian, BEBI, or BABA, or BABAI, he was the first-born Son of Osiris.
See the Legend of Heru-Behutet, p. 67.